A COVID-19 outbreak is set to severely hamper Inter Miami’s playoff chances heading into its Friday opener vs. Nashville SC.
Sources have told SBI that at least five Inter Miami players, including a minimum of one starter, have tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be available for selection in Friday night’s road postseason match against fellow expansion side Nashville SC.
The news comes as a blow for Inter Miami, which qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season by beating FC Cincinnati at home by a 2-1 mark. The South Florida side finished the campaign in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, setting up this play-in encounter against Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium.
Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso alluded to a potential loss of players on a conference call on Wednesday morning when asked about having almost everyone at his disposal following the announcement that Rodolfo Pizarro and a few others were cleared to play again.
“It’s always good for a coach to have all his players available, but at the same time when we have had issues I think the work of the players that are behind has stood out,” said Alonso in Spanish. “(Christian) Makoun has played, (Alvas) Powell has played, A.J. (DeLaGarza), Mikey (Ambrose), players that have been behind in the depth chart at all times but when they have played they have played well.
“That speaks to the general daily commitment of the staff, of the players, of the club for having everyone essentially at the same level. We are calm in knowing that whoever plays on Friday will do so in an incredible way.”
The development comes a day after an ESPN report highlighted new MLS guidelines that would force a team to withdraw from the playoffs due to a COVID-19 outbreak if a match could not be rescheduled.
Inter Miami traveled to Nashville on Thursday night for Friday’s match, with the winner set to compete in the next playoff round on Tuesday.