There was no surprise when the United States Professional Soccer League (MLS) officially announced FC Dallas’s abandonment of the “bubble” in Orlado, Florida, after 11 positive cases of coronavirus that prevent it from starting on Wednesday. “Returning Tournament” in preparation for the regular season.
Since arriving at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex on June 27, the Texan team has had 10 players who tested positive for COVID-19 and a member of the technical staff.
Health and safety protocols forced the entire team to be quarantined, which prevented them from training and, therefore, they already knew that their journey in the tournament had come to an end without even having debuted.
Before the announcement of the departure of FC Dallas, the MLS also suffered another serious blow to the sports potential that the tournament may have with the loss of the top scorer of the last league, the Mexican striker Carlos Vela, from the LAFC, who decided not to travel to Orlando to be next to his pregnant wife.
FC Dallas had three positive tests before reaching Orlando and it has not been known if the infected players traveled with the team.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber, after defining what was done with FC Dallas as “difficult decision”, also acknowledged that it was the “correct one”.
“We believe that with the most FC Dallas players testing positive, they have to go through quarantine, it would not allow them to train and it would put them in a position where they would not be able to compete in the tournament and do it in a way that would be within our protocol, “argued Garber.
Of the 557 players currently in Orlando, a total of 13 players have been confirmed positive for the coronavirus, 10 of whom are FC Dallas players and the remaining three are from two other clubs.
Garber said the league remains focused on organizing the tournament, which runs from July 8 to August 11, with the remaining 25 teams remaining in the Orlando “bubble”.
“In the event that we have an outbreak of the virus among our teams, we will make the decision not to go ahead with the tournament, but, until then, those responsible for the league are very focused on going ahead, without losing the great objective of give the players the greatest security, “said Garber.
FC Dallas was scheduled to play Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the tournament opener for both teams, but has now been canceled.
For its part, FC Dallas, through its coach, the Hispanic Luchi González, admitted that the entire organization felt “frustrated” at not being able to compete, but that the health and safety of the players and the rest of the teams was the most important.
While the president of FC Dallas, Dan Hunt, announced that his team now only plans to overcome the quarantine and return to training for when the 2020 regular season competition arrives, to be ready and prepared to play at the highest level.
“We fully agree with the league’s decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS in the” Returning Tournament “for safety reasons for our players and staff,” Hunt reiterated.
With the departure of FC Dallas, Garber said he will work with the club once the tournament is completed and if the 2020 regular season resumes.
“We will have to work with Dallas to replace the three regular season games that will be lost, but we firmly believe that the integrity of the tournament is safe,” Garber defended.
The MLS commissioner admitted that “we knew from the beginning that we would have to manage a unique dynamic in Florida, in which we will have to take into account the need to reschedule the games, due to the weather and other circumstances as they arise.”
For its part, the MLS Players Association reported in a statement that “FC Dallas’ removal from competition in Orlando is a reminder of just how difficult the circumstances are that returning to work in all sports in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. “
In addition, he recognized that the FC Dallas organization had worked very hard in recent months to try to overcome the situation in order to start the competition, an objective that in the end it could not achieve, but if they helped the rest of the league to benefit from his experience in the fight against COVID-19.