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MLS Canadian teams to play “home” games in United States

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Major League Soccer’s Canadian teams will all play their next three matches of the league’s return-to-play plan on United States soil in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the plan, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps will each stage one scheduled home game at American venues.

Montreal Impact will host Philadelphia Union on September 20 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, which is primarily the home of the New York Red Bulls as well as local rivals New York City FC for the time being.

On September 27, Toronto FC will host Columbus Crew at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut, while the Vancouver Whitecaps will host the Portland Timbers at their opponents’ venue Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

With the Canadian-US border still essentially closed, it is a similar situation that has forced Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays to relocate to Buffalo, New York, this season.

“We were approached by MLS to serve as a host venue during this unprecedented 2020 season, and in the interest of helping our league resume play, we agreed to host these additional matches,” said Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre. “The playing surface, facilities, and broadcast operations make Red Bull Arena an ideal venue for teams and fans watching from home.”

MLS also announced that its playoffs will consist of single-elimination matches hosted by the higher-seeded team and follow a straight bracket format through the MLS Cup final on December 12.

Elsewhere, the third-tier National Independent Soccer Association announced that the 2020 NISA Fall Tournament will be played at Detroit’s Keyworth Stadium from September 21 until October 2.

The tournament will be played behind closed doors but matches will be broadcast on beIN Sports Xtra, the network’s free, 24/7 English-language channel.