Relentless COVID-19 Forces Second MLS Team Out Of Return To Play
First, it was FC Dallas … after all the hard work and effort of head coach Luchi Gonzalez and his talented team to prepare for the #MLSisBACK tournament, the team was forced to drop out because of players testing positive for the Coronavirus COVID-19. Regardless of the mindset that the “#MLSisBACK champion would be the team that wanted it most” — the pandemic struck and took out a strong contender, and now COVID-19 has claimed another squad.
Today, July 9, Nashville SC has withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament and issued the following statement:
Nashville Soccer Club in conjunction with Major League Soccer announced today that the club will withdraw its participation in the MLS Is Back Tournament due to positive COVID-19 cases among its players.
Nashville SC arrived in Orlando, Fla. on July 1, having taken all the necessary steps and following all the mandated protocols established by the league as well as local and national health authorities to minimize the risk and exposure to the virus. Despite the precautions, one player tested positive upon arrival at the host hotel, and another eight Nashville SC players tested positive upon a few days of arrival.
Following daily testing of players and staff during the past nine days, it was determined that the club would not be medically cleared to get sufficient training before their next match. As a result, it was decided that it would be in the best interest of the health and safety of the players, the staff and the rest of the league that Nashville SC does not participate in the tournament.
“In what has been a challenging year, and in an uncharted environment created by the Tornado that devastated our city and COVID-19, this is another big disappointing outcome for Nashville SC and its supporters,” said Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “Our focus now lays on the recovery of our players who have been infected with COVID-19 and on getting our complete traveling party back home safely. Once everyone is safe and healthy in Nashville, we can then turn the page and focus on our preparation and participation in the return to play for the latter half of the season post Orlando.”
Nashville SC is working with MLS and local health officials on a plan to bring home those players and staff who have consistently tested negative throughout their time in Orlando, Fla. as soon as it ensures everyone’s safety in the process.
Following this decision, MLS announced an updated format and schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament:
As a result of the withdrawal of Dallas and Nashville, MLS has reconfigured the groups into six groups, each consisting of four teams, as well as an update to the qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi.
Revised #MLSisBACK Group Alignment:
Chicago Fire FC has moved from Group A to Group B in the MLS is Back Tournament to join San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Note: Chicago and Nashville will remain in the Eastern Conference for the rest of the 2020 regular season.
The new MLS is Back Tournament match schedule:
- July 14 Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
- July 14 Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 14 New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 19 Chicago Fire FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8:00 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)
- July 20 Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 20 Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
- July 23 Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
- July 19 Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)
All matches of the MLS is Back Tournament will be will be televised nationally in the U.S. across ESPN, FOX Sports, and Univision’s UniMás and TUDN networks; in Canada on TSN and TVA Sports networks, as well as globally through the league’s international broadcast partners.
All matches not aired by an English-language network will be streamed live in English on Twitter.
For the complete MLS is Back Tournament schedule please CLICK HERE.
Source: MLS Releases