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Toronto begins MLS schedule at Rentschler Sunday hosting Columbus – The Collinsville Press
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Toronto begins MLS schedule at Rentschler Sunday hosting Columbus

MLS’ Toronto Reds make their debut at Rentschler Field Sunday when they host Columbus in the first six games here this fall in East Hartford. (Photo courtesy Toronto FC)

EAST HARTFORD, Sept. 24, 2020 – Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC will be playing six games at Pratt & Whitney Stadium’s Rentschler Field in East Hartford beginning Sunday when the Reds host the Columbus Crew.

Toronto and MLS released the final two months of the MLS schedule earlier this week.

No fans will be allowed in the stands for Sunday’s game against Columbus but the Capitol Regional Development Authority, the quasi-public state organization, operates Rentschler Field, said discussions have been held on the possibility of some fans attending future games.

“It’s been discussed but no decisions have been made,” said Michael Freimuth, executive director of the CRDA.

Spectra, the firm that manages the facility, has been exploring the possibility with the Toronto squad with ongoing consultation with the state of Connecticut’s COVID team, Freimuth said.

The Hartford Athletic, which plays in the USL Championship league, has been playing home games at Dillon Stadium the past two months before a reducing crowd of about 1,300 fans a game – 25 percent of the stadium’s capacity of 5,500 fans. Rentschler Field seats 38,000 fans, according to the stadium’s website.

Toronto will host an additional five MLS games against the Philadelphia Union (Oct. 3), New York Red Bulls (Oct. 14), Atlanta United (Oct. 18), the New York City FC (Oct. 28) and InterMiami FC (Nov. 1).

Toronto and two other Canadian teams in MLS (Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps) are playing their home games in the U.S. this fall.

The border between Canada and the United States has been closed since March for non-essential travel with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the U.S. forcing Canadian teams to seek alternatives to participating in professional sports leagues here in the United States. Earlier this month, both nations agreed to continue restricting moving across the border through at least October 21.

Montreal will play their home games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. while Vancouver will play at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

Each of MLS’s 28 teams will play 23 regular season games this season before the playoffs begin in late November. Ten of the 14 teams in the Eastern Conference will make the playoffs.

Toronto, whose nickname is the Reds, are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 7-2-4 with Sunday’s opponent Columbus (9-1-3) in first place. The New England Revolution are fifth with a 4-3-6 record.

Toronto’s MLS games will be available through ESPN’s streaming service (ESPN+). The Reds won the 2017 MLS Cup title.

Remaining Toronto Reds schedule
Sun. Sept. 27: COLUMBUS, 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 3: PHILADELPHIA, 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 7: at New England, 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 11: at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 14: NEW YORK RED BULLS, 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 18: ATLANTA UNITED, 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 24: at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 28: NEW YORK CITY FC, 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 1: INTERMIAMI FC, 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 8: at New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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