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MLS is Back Tournament under intense spotlight after FC Dallas-Vancouver game is postponed

(Credit: MLS)

The viability of Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back Tournament has been put under question after FC Dallas’s game against Vancouver Whitecaps on July 9 was indefinitely postponed following a widespread Covid-19 outbreak in the Texas team.

Last week, it was announced that six FC Dallas players had tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Orlando, Florida, for the quarantined summer tournament which is being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex and is slated to begin this week.

According to multiple reports, a total of 10 FC Dallas players and one coach have tested positive since the delegation arrived in Orlando, though this higher number has not been confirmed by the team or the league. The squad has since been isolating in their rooms out of an abundance of caution and does not have a time frame to return to training.

Meanwhile, the Whitecaps’ journey to Orlando was delayed due to two inconclusive tests, which later came back negative. The team will now depart for Florida on July 6.

“It’s been tough, I can’t sugarcoat it, but I don’t have time to feel sorry for me or ourselves,” FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez told ESPN. “Right now it’s about getting guys healthy, feeling safe, so that we can be strong in the long term.”

Meanwhile, according to The Athletic, five Nashville SC players have also tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving in Orlando. Nashville SC, which has 29 players on its roster, is scheduled to face the Chicago Fire on July 8. It is unclear if this game is in doubt but according to reports, it may be postponed.

Elsewhere, the Colorado Rapids have also delayed their departure to Orlando until July 7 after the club was notified of two presumptive positive Covid-19 results in its traveling party. Toronto FC similarly postponed its trip to Orlando after one member of the team delegation reported that they were “experiencing symptoms to the team medical staff.”

In addition, the Columbus Crew and Minnesota United agreed to cancel an exhibition game scheduled for July 5  in Orlando after one player on each team tested positive for coronavirus in the past few days.

According to ESPN, MLS has no plans to cancel the tournament despite these coronavirus cases.

Following reports that MLS would allow additional sponsorship logos on team uniforms during the MLS Is Back Tournament, Los Angeles Galaxy announced that commercial partners Herbalife Nutrition and Dignity Health will be featured on the club’s jersey sleeves in Orlando.