LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than seven months after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the United Soccer League's 2020 season, the virus has cut the postseason short on the cusp of the championship.
The USL has decided it will not crown a champion in 2020. Sunday's final between between Phoenix Rising FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies was canceled due to "multiple persons" within the Tampa Bay organization testing positive for the virus Saturday, the league said in a news release.
Tampa Bay defeated Louisville City FC 2-1 on Oct. 24 to advance to and earn the right to host the league championship. The Rowdies will have to settle for the Eastern Conference title, which ended Lou City's bid for a fourth consecutive trip to the final.
"We want to applaud these two teams on an incredible season," USL President Jake Edwards said in a 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," Edwards added. "We’ve grown closer under difficult circumstances and we can’t wait to be back together again soon."
In the league's news release, the USL Players Association Executive Committee said it was disappointed by the cancelation but appreciated "the decision to put player health and wellness first."
Reacting to the news of the cancelation, Louisville City FC President Brad Estes in a tweet said he felt terrible for "everyone involved" and that, "Nobody wins with this outcome."
Estes ended his tweet by saying, "2021 can’t get here soon enough."
Feel terrible for everyone involved in the cancellation of the @USLChampionship Final. @PHXRisingFC and @TampaBayRowdies fought hard this season and earned the right to battle for the trophy. Nobody wins with this outcome. 2021 can’t get here soon enough.— Brad Estes (@brad_estes) October 31, 2020
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