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Sans fans: Sports returning to Tucson in different ways

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TUCSON (KVOA) - FC Tucson is on the home pitch Saturday night at Kino North Stadium. 

There will be no fans in the stands. 

The USL League One side plays its third match of the 2020 season when Union Omaha comes to town for a 7:30 kickoff. 

Some teams in the 2nd-year league are allowing fans at their games. Many are not. Such are the times we live in where different municipalities have different protocols for how to deal with the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

At least 2 matches, both involving the Richmond Kickers, have been postponed due to involved personnel testing positive for COVID19. 

FC Tucson plays at North Stadium under an agreement with the Pima County Stadium District. 

The district currently does not allow spectators for any activities held at the Kino Sports Complex.   

Kino North Stadium will remain empty for FC Tucson home matches this summer

That decision is based upon guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control, and recommendations of the Pima County Health Department in coordination with state and local officials. 

While fans are not being allowed by the stadium district, they are being allowed by the Southwestern Fair Commission at Tucson Speedway. 

NASCAR racing resumed at the 6,000-seat facility on August 1 at 12% capacity. 

The AIA this week announced a plan to resume high school sports in the state of Arizona. 

Fall athletics will be phased in beginning with golf on August 17, Swimming and Diving and Cross Country on August 24, Badminton, Fall Soccer and Volleyball on August 31 and upper conference Football on September 7. 

Football games for Conferences 4A-6A will begin play the weekend September 30. 

The 1A-3A conferences are still discussing possibilities for length of their regular seasons and playoff formats. 

FC Tucson (1-1) enters Saturday's match with a win over Fort Lauderdale and a loss to Chattanooga. 

Fans will be allowed at a watch party the club is having at El Toro Flicks downtown. The first 100 fans to drive-thru the gates will receive a team flag.

Union Omaha (1-0-1) drew (0-0) with New England II in their opener before an impressive home victory over USL1 defending champion North Texas. 

Injury Report

Goalkeeper Carlos Merancio-Valdez is available for selection Saturday after missing FC Tucson's 1st two matches with a groin injury.

The Hermosillo-born goalkeeper appeared in 13 matches last season, allowing 20 goals and posting a 3-6-4 record.

Amal Knight, a goalkeeper on loan from USL Championship side San Diego Loyal has started the first two matches for the Men in Black. He has six saves on eight shots.

Defender Samuel Biek will miss Saturday's game due to bronchitis. Club manager John Galas indicated the illness is not COVID19 related and expects Biek, one of the side's best passer, to be back for the start of FC Tucson's three-match road swing in Richmond next week.

Copyright 2020 News 4 Tucson. All rights reserved.    

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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