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Nashville SC to switch conference if MLS season is completed

Nashville SC will move from Major League Soccer’s Western Conference to the Eastern if the remainder of the 2020 season is to be completed.

That’s according to the Nashville Post as the MLS has discussed a possible return of the season that has been suspended since mid-March following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nashville’s debut MLS season was only two games old when the season was suspended, losing 2-1 at home to Atlanta United and then 1-0 away to the Portland Timbers on 8 March.

Former FC Dallas and LACF centre-back Walker Zimmerman scored the first goal in the club’s MLS history on 29 February in their debut match defeat at the hands of 2018 MLS Cup winners Atlanta.

The reported proposal to finish the 2020 MLS season includes all 26 teams participating in a tournament in Orlando. There would be no fans in attendance.

The report says the MLS tournament format would see each club play five games each with the top two teams in each group advancing to a knockout-style final eight.

Seattle Sounders, Atlanta United, LAFC and Orlando City would be the top four seeds, and the remaining teams would be assigned a group by a random draw.

Nashville’s switch would be a result of the Western conference currently having 14 franchises compared to the Eastern’s 12. The result culd also setup a rivalry with Atlanta, who are much closer to Nashville than the teams in the Western Conference.

Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina are set to have expansion franchises join the league in 2021.

So far no return date has been considered but July would realistically be the earliest given how long the league has been suspended and with no clubs back in team training so far.

In Europe, Germany’s top two divisions are in action for a second consecutive weekend, whilst smaller leagues including the Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary all resumed this weekend. German clubs were back in training for five weeks before the league restarted on Saturday 16 May.

The English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A are all looking to return to action next month, with no official announcements from either so far. These three countries have been among the worst hit by the pandemic in Europe, whilst France and the Netherlands cancelled their 2019-20 seasons indefinitely back in April.

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