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MLS teams arriving in Florida, tournament schedule set

Major League Soccer will open its World Cup-style return tournament in Florida on July 8 with a double header.

Orlando City will play expansion Inter Miami in the first match, followed by a game between the Chicago Fire and Nashville SC. The games will be the first time the league has been in action since play was shut down on March 12 because of the coronavirus.

The all-Florida opener is a nod to the tournament’s host state. All games will be played without fans in attendance at the sports complex at Walt Disney World.

The league released the schedule Wednesday, the first day teams could arrive at the complex near Orlando for the tournament. The San Jose Earthquakes, who were limited in practice by local restrictions, were the first team to travel to Florida.

Earthquakes players will be tested upon arrival and then quarantined for 24 hours while awaiting the results.

MLS will be the second pro team league in the United States to return to the field. The National Women’s Soccer League will play a tournament in Utah starting Saturday.

The 26 MLS teams will be divided into six groups for the opening round of the tournament, which will be played over 16 consecutive days. Group matches will count toward the regular-season standings.

Among the highlights of the group stage is a match between the LA Galaxy and LAFC on July 18, and a Canadian rivalry match between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC on July 15. The defending champion Seattle Sounders open play against the Earthquakes on July 10.

Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout round, with the winner of the title game on Aug. 11 earning a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

The teams and select staff members will be sequestered during the tournament at two Disney resorts for the duration of the tournament.

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  • Casual Fridays and the coronavirus have caused a 200-year-old company to file for bankruptcy. Luxury clothier Brooks Brothers is the latest company to file for bankruptcy protection, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company, which is owned by Italian businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, still makes clothes in the U.S. but warned last month that it could close three of its factories. Company officials also said it would lay off 700 workers in three states, CNN reported. There are 500 stores worldwide, with 200 in North America. The company is now on the lookout to find a buyer. It is also closing about 20% of its stores in the US and has received $75 million in financing to continue operations, CNN reported. Brooks Brothers joined Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and J.C Penney in filing for bankruptcy protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. But its problems started before the virus took over the world as many corporate dress codes morphed into casual workplace dress. But the stay at home orders that came with COVID-19 had people not getting dressed in work attire to start their teleworking day. Brooks Brothers was founded in 1818 in New York. Del Vecchio bought the company in 2001 and expanded to women’s clothing, children’s clothing and home items. Del Vecchio told The New York Times recently that he was planning on moving some U.S.-based operations overseas to cut overhead, CNN reported.
  • Authorities have filed hate crime and other charges against two people who were seen on video Saturday vandalizing a Black Lives Matter mural painted on the street in Martinez. Nicole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, face charges of violating another person's civil rights, vandalism and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday. If convicted, Anderson and Nelson could face up to a year in county jail. Authorities said Anderson is accused of covering the bright yellow letters of a Black Lives Matter mural with black paint shortly after it was completed Saturday. In video of the incident taken by bystanders and shared online, a man wearing a Trump 2020 T-shirt and hat, who authorities identified as Nelson, can be heard telling onlookers that racism is 'a leftist lie.' 'We're sick of this narrative, that's what's wrong,' the man said in the video. 'The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression the narrative of racism -- it's a lie.' A woman, identified by authorities as Anderson, could be seen using a roller to spread black paint over the mural. In the video, she can be heard saying, 'This is not happening in my town.' Kerry Leidich told the San Francisco Chronicle that he began to record video after he, his girlfriend and his 16-year-old son saw the incident unfold as they were admiring the mural. He said his girlfriend, who is Black, was traumatized by the incident. “At first, I was just taken aback and astonished,” Leidich told the Chronicle. “I was like, ‘Holy cow, this is happening.’” Justin Gomez, an organizer with the group Martizians for Black Lives, told KTVU that the group had gotten a permit July 1 to paint the mural. In a statement, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said the mural “was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country.” “We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country,” Becton said. “The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention.” In a statement released Saturday, police called the incident 'divisive and hurtful.' 'The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner,' the statement said. In a letter addressed to the community Tuesday, Mayor Rob Schroder said city officials approved of the temporary mural after learning about fliers posted on sidewalks near downtown in which supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement were threatened. Schroeder said officials also dealt with “a separate incident that resulted in the brandishing of a firearm at the mural site.” Crews also worked Tuesday to clean the words “White Lives Matter” after they were painted on a street near the mural, KTVU reported.
  • We know staying home has been the main way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but which activities are safe and which are the riskiest? Can you still run to the store, have a barbecue or attend a celebration? Doctors with the Texas Medical Association have developed a chart that ranks the risks involved in various outings. The lowest risk according to the medical professionals is opening the mail. The highest risk -- going to a bar. The group said the rankings were compiled by experts from the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force and the group’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, with the assumption that people who are participating are wearing a mask. Fourteen doctors were on the committee that made the list, KTVT reported. It was developed to help put the information that was available into one easy-to-understand presentation, KEYE reported. “People will have to decide what risk they think is reasonable for themselves and their families to take in order to live life,” Dr. Erica Swegler, a member of the taskforce, told KEYE. While the chart may be handy to gauge risk, the medical association said the best thing to do is, “stay home if possible, wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance when they have to go out, and practice safe hand hygiene,” KXAN reported.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are bucking the trend of considering a name change. The NFL’s Redskins and the MLB’s Indians have both announced that they will consider changing the teams’ names and logos to something more culturally appropriate. But the Blackhawks will not. The name and image of a Native American warrior will be staying but the team’s officials said they will be “raising the bar even higher” to raise awareness of Native American culture. “The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in a statement according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Team officials said they have worked with Native American groups “by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue.” While the team won’t be changing its name, it does not discount the decisions of other professional sports teams to reevaluate their names and logos, The Associated Press reported. “We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation,” the team said. The hockey team honors Native Americans with pregame and intermission events, the Sun-Times reported. But there have been some Native American groups that have said the name and logo continue racist stereotypes. The Blackhawks, known as the Black Hawks, joined the NHL in March 1926 and was named by the owner Frederic McLaughlin after the unit he served with in World War I – the Blackhawk Division of the 86th Infantry, WMAQ reported. The NHL season has been suspended due to coronavirus, but training camps are set to start July 13 with games resuming Aug. 1, the NHL announced Monday.
  • A Texas boy is recovering after he was struck by gunfire twice in two separate drive-by shootings that happened just days apart. According to WOAI-TV, the shootings occurred late Saturday and early Tuesday at the same home on West Viola Avenue in Yakima, authorities said. In the first shooting, an 11-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, Yakima police said in a news release. In the second, the same boy was shot in the leg once, while his 9-year-old sister was shot in the leg twice, according to the release. The children were taken to a nearby hospital and released after receiving treatment, authorities said. In a statement, Yakima police Chief Matt Murray called the incidents 'heart-wrenching and alarming.' “The Police Department’s top priority is the reduction of violent crime – and these incidents are a glaring example of why,” Murray said. “But this is a community issue, and we need the community’s help to solve it and prevent further violence.” Authorities have not announced any arrests in the case. If you have information about the shootings, you can submit a tip anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-248-9980. Read more here or here.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp has asked the federal government to send more resources to expand COVID-19 testing in Gwinnett County and to renew funds needed to keep the National Guard staffing testing sites around the state. Kemp on Tuesday asked for help getting personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for the state’s first responders and essential workers and an extension in funding for the Georgia National Guard, which has been performing COVID-19 testing and sanitizing long-term care homes during the pandemic. In addition to sustaining the ongoing federal coronavirus assistance, Kemp is seeking additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to increase Gwinnett’s testing infrastructure, a spokesman said. Gwinnett has seen a surge in positive COVID-19 tests since mid-May, with 9,666 total as of July 6, according to the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments. Members of a federal COVID-19 response team visited Gwinnett County last week and are expected to compile a report detailing how spread could be further prevented. That report will be given to local health officials. >>Read MORE on AJC.com.