Nashville SC has officially withdrawn from the MLS Is Back tournament following several positive coronavirus tests, becoming the second team to back out of the tournament after FC Dallas was forced to pull out earlier this week.
While Nashville SC's first game was scheduled for July 8, the matchup against Chicago Fire was postponed when news began to break that up to nine players on Nashville SC had tested positive. Now, the team has confirmed that it will not be participating, leaving 24 MLS teams to compete in Orlando.
The struggles of launching the MLS Is Back tournament may leave some wondering if trying to start a sports league in the midst of a nationwide pandemic is a good idea at all. After all, NBA teams are heading to Orlando with their own reports of coronavirus cases and many players have wondered if avoiding the spread of COVID-19 is realistic.
The MLS remains confident that the tournament will be able to go forward successfully, as players are being tested before and after they arrive in Orlando. The competition began on Wednesday, with Orlando City beating Inter Miami 2-1. If the tournament is able to continue without being entirely shut down, a league champion should be crowned on Aug. 11.
"First of all it's a shame what happened with FC Dallas, but the health and wellbeing of everyone is always most important," said Sporting Kansas City's Mexican striker Alan Pulido. "Being here, [the positive cases] do catch our attention, but it doesn't mean anything will happen to us."