Major League Soccer’s return tournament is slated to kick off this week, but in a bit of huge news, the festivities will occur with one fewer team than originally planned. According to both The Athletic and ESPN, FC Dallas, which has seen 10 players and a coach test all positive while in the bubble, has decided to pull out two days before the tournament began.
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) July 6, 2020
BREAKING: Sources confirm to ESPN that @MLS will announce that @FCDallas has withdrawn from the #MLSisBack tournament. The entire traveling party of the team has been quarantined for 7 days following the positive coronavirus tests for 10 players and 1 coach, last week.
— Stefano Fusaro (@FusaroESPN) July 6, 2020
As ESPN laid out, a trio of Dallas players tested positive prior to the team heading to Disney for the start of the tournament. Upon arriving, a number of positive tests for those who had previously tested positive began popping up, and in all, 14 members of the organization have received positive COVID-19 tests. Upon testing positive, those in the bubble began isolating, but as FC Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez previously told ESPN, there were concerns about taking to the pitch, even once individuals began getting over the virus.
“There’s concerns with our participation, because as the head coach of this team, I have to be very responsible in the amount of training we can get before we can play a high level professional game,” Gonzalez said. “And that’s first and foremost for me because we want to prevent injuries. And we want players to perform the best of their ability. And on top of that, we want to maintain their health and safety and not risk contamination. So it’s just a tough balance.”
Dallas’ first match was slated to take place on Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps, but that had already been postponed. The team also had fixtures lined up against Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes. There is no word on what will happen with those three teams going forward. In the league’s last testing update, which was announced on July 4, 14 positive cases — 12 players of which came via players — were identified out of 1,191 tests that were performed.