Los Angeles FC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips has hit out at Major League Soccer’s return-to-play plan, describing the MLS Is Back Tournament as “a bit stupid.”
The criticism from the MLS veteran comes amid the removal of FC Dallas from the quarantined tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sport complex in Orlando, Florida, due to a widespread Covid-19 outbreak in the team.
In addition, MLS is evaluating Nashville SC’s place in the competition after the team’s scheduled game against Chicago Fire on July 8 was postponed after five players tested positive for coronavirus. Meanwhile, four other players have received inconclusive test results, and require further testing.
Elsewhere, Wright-Phillips’ teammate Carlos Vela, the league’s Most Valuable Player, and a number of other players, including five from the Vancouver Whitecaps, have opted not to travel to Orlando for numerous reasons.
“I don’t really care how I come across here because it’s no secret to me,” Wright-Phillips said on The Sports Bubble podcast. “I just think it’s a little bit stupid, If I’m being honest. I just think we could have waited like the rest of the leagues and you train until you’re able to play. And that’s it.”
The former New York Red Bulls forward added: “You’ve taken us all to a place now in a bubble where you gotta stay in your room, away from your families. You know, some people got some real, some real-life issues, you know, to deal with and you just got to go and leave your family for how long, you know, but I guess money talks, my friend.”
Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who previously described MLS’s plan as a “luxurious prison”, also said he was “scared” of coming to Florida, which has had a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
“We all saw Florida blowing up – because Florida is going to [be] Florida, and the cases around here [are] just increasing at a crazy rate,” Bedoya said.
According to the Washington Post, MLS players will be able to post messages or names relating to social activism on the lower back of their jerseys.
Meanwhile, LAFC has unveiled four new corporate partnerships, including beverage brands Patria Energy and Arriba Chelada, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), fast food restaurant chain Panda Express and protein bar company Power Crunch.