MLS restart glitch as Dallas quarantined after registering 10 positive tests

July 6 – Major League Soccer has postponed the match between Dallas and Vancouver, a fixture of its MLS Is Back tournament, to an undisclosed date due positive coronavirus tests in the Texan team.

FC Dallas arrived in the Orlando area on June 27, where the MLS is staging its tournament to kickstart the domestic season, but the club confirmed that 10 members of its delegation – nine players and one coach – tested positive for COVID-19. The team has been placed in quarantine and is not allowed to train. 

Both teams will now play their first matches of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 15, as Dallas take on Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC play the San Jose Earthquakes.

Other teams’ plans have also been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Both Vancouver and Colorado Rapids delayed their departure for Orlando over inconclusive tests and presumptive positive tests respectively. The MLS only requires players to quarantine for roughly 24 hours upon arrival. 

The league has enforced a protocol of testing, tracing and isolating, but whether that strategy will be enough to ensure a bio-secure environment remains to be seen.

“In consultation with infectious disease experts and government health authorities, MLS developed comprehensive health and safety protocols that include pre-travel testing, as well as isolation upon arrival until additional screening tests have been completed,” said MLS deputy commissioner and president Mark Abbott.

“These protocols have led to the early identification and isolation of infected individuals who likely contracted the virus prior to traveling. Those individuals were promptly identified, and separated from other tournament participants and staff, so that they can receive care and ensure that we minimize the risk of transmission to other participants.”

The MLS Is Back tournament will kick off on July 9 with Orlando scheduled to take on Miami, and runs all the way to August 11 at  ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.  At the weekend the Sunshine State registered a new record in coronavirus cases as the death toll in the US neared 130,000. 

The league created the tournament in response to the truncated calendar due to the coronavirus shutdown. The winners will qualify for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1606822012labto1606822012ofdlr1606822012owedi1606822012sni@o1606822012fni1606822012