NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Major League Soccer was cruising right along, dealing with little to no obstacles leading up to its ‘MLS is Back’ tournament, kicking off on July 8th. However, in the past few days, the league has seen several teams have players test positive COVID-19.
FC Dallas had nine players test positive for coronavirus after arriving at the ‘bubble’ in Orlando, they are all in quarantine. Right now, eight teams are in Orlando but at least three others — Vancouver, Nashville and the New York Red Bulls — pushed back scheduled charter flights that were scheduled to arrive Wednesday. Reports say that Nashville delayed its travel because a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19, but they are now planning to leave Thursday night.
“I think Nashville’s delay and not getting into the bubble right now, I think there is some silver lining in that. Nashville SC taking care of itself is good for them but also for MLS making sure it starts and ends on time,” said Drake Hills, Tennessean reporter for Nashville SC.
Nashville SC is scheduled to play the Chicago Fire, when the tournament kicks off next Wednesday, but if for some reason this tournament is compromised in anyway, it would be yet another blow to the team’s inagural season.
“For Nashville SC it would be devastating for them because they were going to be allowed to play on that first day of the tournament to have the eyes on them, to get that exposure and if the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament was delayed or canceled it would be devastating for the players and the fans,” Hills said.
The safety of players and staff remains the top priority, but with positive tests coming back almost daily, the timing isn’t ideal. There are concerns that this tournament could be in jeopardy and that could have an even greater effect on the remainder of the season.
Hills added, “If this tournament doesn’t happen, I would be worried. I don’t think Major League Soccer would be able to have a full season, a full resumption of the regular season in 2020.”