The Major Arena Soccer League decided Thursday to end the regular season, effective immediately, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday “to act in the best interests of the players, staff and fans of the league,” the MASL said in a statement.
“It’s a disappointing end to an exciting regular season, but the health and safety of our players, fans and staff is paramount,” MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub said. “It was a significant sacrifice for our owners to forego the remaining regular season games, but it was the appropriate decision considering the gravity of the situation.”
The decision to end the regular season follows the direction of other professional sports leagues, such as the NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and others, along with directives and restrictions from local governments in MASL communities, the league said.
Play halts with the Blast, who play their home games at Towson University’s SECU Arena, having won five of their past six games. A 9-5 win over the rival Harrisburg Heat on Saturday put them at 15-8 on the season.
The Blast’s most recent win put them in fourth place in the league’s Eastern Division with one game road game remaining against the Milwaukee Wave on Sunday. A win against the Wave would have assured them of a playoff spot.
“We were kind of expecting something to happen because we’ve been watching the news and everything else was getting postponed or canceled. It’s very sad,” Blast star goalie William Vanzela said.
“Obviously, you’ve been competing and playing the whole year to get to playoff time. And we were at a point where we were playing real well, having grown as a team at the right moment and I felt really good about things. We were very confident and really looking forward to the playoffs, but the season ends short by something we’re not able to control. So, definitely, completely sad, but there’s bigger things in life that need to be taken care of and at the end of the day this is just a game.”
The Blast have won ten professional indoor soccer league championships, including three straight before falling to Milwaukee in the MASL semifinals last season. It ended a string of seven straight championship series appearances.