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USL Championship Final canceled due to COVID-19

(Twitter Photo/@PHXRisingFC)

The 2020 USL Championship Final between Phoenix Rising FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies has been canceled.

The announcement comes after multiple Tampa Bay Rowdies players tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning.

“Our thoughts and concern right now are with the people from the Tampa Bay Rowdies and their family members who are fighting the coronavirus,” Phoenix Rising FC Governor Berke Bakay said in a press release.

“We know they and their fans are as heartbroken as we are that the 2020 USL Championship title match cannot be played.”

PRFC arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday and had zero positive cases of coronavirus after going through testing on Tuesday and receiving results Wednesday.

On Friday, USL announced that Tampa Bay manager Neill Collins, assistant coach Kevin Foley and one other member within the club had tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss Sunday’s Final.

All other members on the Rowdies’ covered persons list were tested once more on Saturday morning at the Tampa Bay Rays’ medical facility.

The league was still working to play the match and the most likely scenario was to play in three to four weeks in order to give those who tested positive time to quarantine and train, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter

However, PRFC’s Kevon Lambert and Damion Lowe — in addition to Junior Flemmings — have already been called up for Jamaica’s friendly fixtures against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Nov. 14 and 17.

Additionally, Tampa Bay’s Juan Tejada has also been called up to represent Panama in an international friendly against Japan that will take place in Austria on Nov. 13.

And while not all players are on a contract year, many in USL Championship are and have contracts expiring on Nov. 30.

USL HQ, Phoenix and Tampa Bay will explore the possibility of a 2021 “season kickoff” match between the two sides prior to the start of the 2021 campaign.

PRFC manager Rick Schantz and several players expressed disappointment following the decision: