FC Dallas has been withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament, the decision coming from the league after seeing the number of players on the team with positive COVID-19 tests reach 10.
Major League Soccer must now attempt to rearrange the tournament while ensuring that the event remains viable just two days before it is scheduled to begin.
“Given the impact of the number of positive tests on the club’s ability to train and play competitive matches, we have made the decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The health of everyone involved in our return to play has always been our top priority, and we will continue to make decisions consistent with that priority.”
FC Dallas is not the only MLS team dealing with positive COVID-19 tests, with Nashville SC and the Columbus Crew both having players who have tested positive in recent days. The Colorado Rapids also reportedly had positive cases before leaving for Orlando.
Several teams have also had to delay their travel to Orlando due to varying situations surrounding testing for COVID-19. Toronto FC postponed flying to Orlando on Saturday after a member of the team’s travel party reported experiencing symptoms. That led to TFC’s entire travel party undergoing another round of testing, but TFC reportedly made the trip to Orlando on Monday. The Rapids put off their travel to Orlando until Tuesday.
MLS will now need to rearrange the structure of the tournament, which is down to 25 teams. MLS had already had to rearrange the competition schedule to deal with FC Dallas’ rash of positive tests, postponing the team’s July 9 tournament opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The FC Dallas situation bears a resemblance to what took place with the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League. Just days before the Pride was scheduled to take part in the 2020 Challenge Cup in Utah, the club stated it would not participate due to a high number of positive COVID-19 cases.
The MLS is Back Tournament is scheduled to begin on Wednesday night, with Orlando City facing Inter Miami.