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Soccer

Santa Clara County ban on public gatherings creates uncertainty around MLS game

The Earthquakes’ Magnus Eriksson celebrates his goal against Minnesota United FC on March 20 in San Jose.
The Earthquakes’ Magnus Eriksson celebrates his goal against Minnesota United FC on Saturday in San Jose.
(Nhat V. Meyer / Bay Area News Group )

A Santa Clara County ban on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people could lead to the first coronavirus-related postponement of an MLS game later this month.

The ban, issued late Monday by the county’s Public Health Department, is the most sweeping government action in California to date in response to the coronavirus outbreak and will remain in effect through the end of the month. The San Jose Earthquakes are scheduled to play Sporting Kansas City in Avaya Stadium on March 21.

The team issued a one-paragraph statement Monday in response: “The San Jose Earthquakes fully support the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department’s recent announcement barring all mass gatherings through the end of the month and will comply immediately.”

Neither the team nor the league has said whether the game will be postponed or played in an empty stadium. The 34-game MLS regular season is just 2 weeks old, which would give the league plenty of time to reschedule the match.

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Phone and email messages to the Earthquakes seeking clarification Tuesday were not answered.

The ban on public gatherings was announced just hours after the first coronavirus-related death was reported in Santa Clara County. It will go into effect at midnight Wednesday and apply to any gathering of more than 1,000 people. It does include normal operations at schools, airports, shopping malls, office complexes or other spaces.


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