July 10 – Nashville SC has become the second team after FC Dallas to be withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament due to a number of positive coronavirus tests.
Nashville arrived in Orlando July 3, where the MLS tournament is being staged, but quickly reported that some of its players tested positive for Covid-19.
“We have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches. For every decision we make in our return to play, the well-being of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority.”
Nashville’s withdrawal is the latest setback for the tournament after Dallas were pulled out of the event on Monday because of positive Covid-19 tests. The withdrawal reduced the playing field at the MLS tournament in Orlando to 24 teams. As a result of both the absence of Nashville and Dallas, the MLS were forced to reconfigure the tournament format with Chicago Fire moving from Group A to Group B.
“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 CEO Ian Ayre said in a statement.
“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.”
The MLS is the first major league in the US to return to action after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, but the tournament that will count towards the regular league and offers a pathway to the Concacaf Champions League has come under scrutiny for its timing, location and medical protocol.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando is staging the matches in what the MLS claims is a bio-secure environment as the coronavirus rages in the sunshine state. Florida has registered more than 232,000 coronavirus cases and 4,000 fatalities. The MLS Is Back Tournament kicked off on Wednesday with Orlando City defeating Miami Inter 2-1.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1596910643labto1596910643ofdlr1596910643owedi1596910643sni@o1596910643fni1596910643