Rio Tinto Stadium
USA TODAY Sports

USL Championship set to resume July 11 with Real Monarchs SLC hosting San Diego Loyal SC

The USL Championship returns from its break in play due to the coronavirus pandemic with nine matches scheduled this weekend, including the first sporting event in the U.S. with fans since the COVID-19 pandemic brought them to a halt back in March.

Real Monarchs SLC, Real Salt Lake’s affiliate, hosting Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal SC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday (4 pm ET | ESPN Deportes), with up to 5,300 fans permitted in the 20,700-seat venue.

Proper social distancing and other safety measures will be enforced, after the organization received approval for their plan from state and local health authorities and the USL. Fans will be required to wear masks at all times except for while eating at their seats. And seating locations will have separate and designated parking lot locations, entry times, entry gates and designated concession locations.

Donovan spoke to Yahoo Sports about the match: "From what I’ve read and seen, the chances of contracting the virus outdoors are very slim,” Donovan told Doug McIntyre. “So people socially distant in a stadium, outdoors — I don’t have any issue with that personally. It shouldn’t impact our players at all, because they won’t be near any of the fans.”

Rest of Saturday's schedule

In other matches on Saturday night, Atlanta United 2 will resume its season against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while the Colorado Rapids affiliate, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will host New Mexico United.

Los Dos take on Phoenix Rising and matches between Indy Eleven and Saint Louis FC and El Paso Locomotive FC and Rio Grande Valley FC wrap up the Saturday slate.

Seattle Sounders affiliate Tacoma Defiance returns to the field to meet Sacramento Republic FC in a Monday doubleheader after OKC Energy meet FC Tulsa.

The full schedule for the revised USL Championship 2020 season was released earlier in the week. Teams will play a total of 263 games over 13 weeks in order to determine the 16 teams that will advance to the playoffs, which will take place in the second week of October.

Full details on the schedule are available here.