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COVID-19 and Soccer: Latest USL and Riverhounds SC updates

We’ll continue to provide the lates updates regarding COVID-19 here as it relates to soccer, USL Championship, and particuarly domestic soccer in the United States here.

3/12/2020 – 3:30 p.m. 

We’ll be monitoring the status of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well.  This makes sense from the USL’s standpoint.


3/12/2020 – 12:30 p.m. 


(From USL release)

The United Soccer League announced today the decision to suspend the 2020 season for a minimum of 30 days.

“It was very clear from our owners that the health and safety of players, fans and staff was their top priority,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “In consultation with local, state and national health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, we have temporarily suspended match play for a minimum of 30 days.”

When appropriate, the league will provide additional updates on the continuation of the 2020 Championship season and very much appreciate the continued support of USL Championship fans across the country.

3/12/2020 – 11:30 a.m. 

MLS suspends season for 30 days. Is USL Championship next?

3/12/2020 – 11 a.m. 

Thursday, March 12 (7:55 a.m.) 

It was a day like we’ve never experienced on Wednesday, as various major sports entities in the United States took major steps and precautionary measures in response to Coronavirus.

In USL Championship, Tacoma Defiance’s regular season contest between the Defiance and San Diego Loyal SC was played behind closed doors at Cheney Stadium, in Washington.

That decision followed a Gubernatorial order in the state of Washington delivered in response to an increase in reported cases of COVID-19 within the state. It was also announced on Wednesday that Tacoma’s home match on Sunday, March 22 versus OKC Energy FC is set to be rescheduled for a later date.

Hartford Athletic also announced it had postponed a pair of matches following guidance from local and state health officials. The Athletic’s March 21st match versus the Charleston Battery and April 4th contest versus Memphis 901 FC will be postponed to a later date.

As of Thursday morning, Pittsburgh Soccer Now has been in touch with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC officials about the status of its upcoming planned season opener in Charlotte.  As of now, the team is planning to practice today at Highmark Stadium, then head to Charlotte for the match. We will continue to monitor and provide any updates as they come.

The match between the Hounds and Charlotte Independence (1-0-0), is scheduled place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 at Sportsplex at Matthews in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the United Soccer League announced it has been actively working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, the United States Soccer Federation and other professional sports leagues around the country for weeks to provide the most relevant, up-to-date information on COVID-19 to all of our clubs and stakeholders. USL has also been encouraging all of our clubs to stay in regular contact with their local and state health departments as well as other local authorities.

As the situation evolves, USL will continue to monitor the most recent developments and pass along any and all available information, resources and guidance to clubs, supporters and media as timely as possible.

Major League Soccer hasn’t quite suspended play yet, but they did issue a statement on Wednesday.


As of Thursday morning, the NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

Mt. Lebanon native and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was sitting in his usual court side seats when he received the news.

“This isn’t about basketball, this isn’t about the Mavericks. This isn’t about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic,” Cuban said. 

The first impacting announcement came earlier in the day when NCAA President Mark Emmert said NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will not be open to the general public because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Emmert said in a statement that he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments, which begin next week, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. The decision comes after the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel of medical experts recommended against playing sporting events open to the general public.

View image on Twitter

Locally, Robert Morris’ athletic department announced that in compliance with NCAA’s guidelines, the Women’s NEC Tournament will be played at UPMC Events Center with limited attendance.

Robert Morris To Play Remainder of NEC Women’s Tournament With Limited Attendance

Pittsburgh Soccer Now will continue to monitor and provide any updates as they come. Please check back on this post for updates throughout the day or follow us on Twitter @pghsoccernow 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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