Another COVID-19 cancelation to report: today’s 2020 USL Championship Final game between Phoenix Rising FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies was scrapped after an outbreak of the coronavirus on the Rowdies roster.
After an initial round of testing of the Rowdies, two players and coach Neill Collins tested positive for the coronavirus. A second round yielded more positives, leading the league to cancel the 2020 USL Championship Final game set for Al Lang Stadium.
As for now, the league will not award a league champion, unlike the tiebreakers used to determine the USL League One championship, which was canceled under similar circumstances. One option under consideration: a 2021 Season Kickoff game between the two clubs prior to the start of the 2021 Championship season.
“First and foremost, we want to applaud these two teams on an incredible season,” said USL President Jake Edwards via press statement. “They deserved the opportunity to play for the USL Championship Final trophy and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to watch them on Sunday night. With that said, we want to thank all of our clubs, our supporters, our players and our staff for all of their time, hard work and energy this season. We’ve grown closer under difficult circumstances and we can’t wait to be back together again soon.”
Still, despise both the 2020 USL Championship Final and 2020 USL League One Final being canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks, the season can be seen as relatively successful for USL: the league tackled the issues of testing and mitigation and adjusted to local regulations that limited game-day attendance. It was not a perfect season, to be sure, but USL planning did set up the league to return in 2021 with a solid operations record.