Toronto FC receives permission to train back home ahead of the MLS playoffs
Toronto FC's Pablo Piatti, center, celebrates his goal with this team during the second half of an MLS soccer match against Atlanta United, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in East Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 11, 2020 4:13PM EST
Toronto FC players will be sleeping in their own beds in the lead-up to the MLS playoffs.
Rather than return to Hartford, Toronto remained home Wednesday thanks to a relaxation of the rules regarding training during the pandemic.
“”Major League Soccer has received approval for a modified work-quarantine that permits in-market training under strict testing and safety protocols,“ the league said in a statement.
The players will continued to undergo COVID-19 testing every other day and are limited to what they can do.
“Basically it's home, training, home,” said Toronto president Bill Manning. “That's kind of our routine. But I can tell you it's better than being away.”
I think this is going to be a great chance to kind of recharge the batteries, being at home again,“ he added.
Toronto shifted its base to Hartford in late September, playing “home games” in Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
When time permitted, the travelling party has returned to Toronto to spend time with loved ones under quarantine. In past weeks, that has not involved training -- and players and staff have returned to Hartford after two days at home.
The other Canadians teams were also forced to move south of the border.
Vancouver shifted operations to Portland's Providence Park while Montreal played out of Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Toronto (13-5-5) played all but four games of its 23 regular-season games away from home. It has played 14 straight games away from BMO Field, posting an 8-4-2 record since its last game in Toronto on Sept. 1.
Toronto starts its playoff run Nov. 24 in East Hartford, where it will face one of the winners from the Eastern Conference play-in games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2020