Just like the NBA, Major League Soccer is resuming its 2020 season at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World this month. FC Dallas has been training in Frisco for over a month and arrived in Orlando within the last several days. Unfortunately, now they are being struck with some unfortunate news.
— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) July 1, 2020
While this statement was made by the team early in the afternoon on Wednesday, it was reported later in the evening that three additional players and one coach had tested positive on the team as well. FC Dallas had three positive cases during the month of June, but as the statement says above, they had none when traveling to Orlando on Saturday.
So far the players’/coach’s names have been left anonymous but 3rd Degree reports to know that at least half of the players who have tested positive would be considered worthy of a spot in the starting 11. Fortunately, it’s also reported that all of these members of the organization are asymptomatic.
The “MLS is Back” tournament is scheduled to begin in less than a week on July 8th and FCD is slated to play its first game on July 9th against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The entire team is currently in quarantine in Orlando right now as a precautionary measure. It’s relatively unclear how quickly the team, and the members who tested positive, will be able to return to training. The Athletic reports MLS will handle things in the following way:
“According to protocol for the MLS is Back tournament, any individual that tests positive once inside the MLS bubble in Orlando will then be relocated to “an isolation area” at the Swan and Dolphin resort. The person will remain in isolation until cleared via a test-based or symptom-based recovery plan. According to the league’s language, under the test-based plan, “an individual can return to activity once the person is asymptomatic and tests… negative twice in a span of 24 hours. The symptom-based plan takes into account the days elapsed since the resolution of fever and the number of days since symptoms first appeared.””
While the NBA and MLS are certainly different, it is alarming to see a team have a relative “outbreak” of the virus upon arrival in Orlando. Admittedly, I haven’t looked into if MLS produced an equivalent document to the 113 page outline of the NBA’s plans for players and personnel while in their NBA bubble. Whatever plan FC Dallas was supposed to be following clearly hasn’t worked thus far or perhaps just one rogue Disney staff member or crew member on their flight was able to spread this to one player and then the players spread it to each other.
Whatever the case, this unfortunate development doesn’t mean FCD will have to withdraw from the tournament. Even if all of these players aren’t able to play next Thursday night when the team returns to the pitch, there will still be roughly 15 or 16 players available, assuming no other positives occur. The team’s next game after that is on July 15th, almost two weeks away from now. The way to handle people recovering positively from the virus isn’t the big “two weeks” worth of quarantine that we heard when this started to gain traction in the US four months ago.
Of course, what’s most important is that these players and staff members remain asymptomatic and have a safe and full recovery before returning to action. It’s certainly an unfortunate development for the club, but they will be back.
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