Anibal Godoy enters the team hotel. Photo via Nashville SC Communications.
After a start-and-stop travel ordeal that included canceled flights to Orlando both Wednesday and Thursday, Nashville SC’s travel went off without a hitch Friday afternoon. The Boys in Gold touched down in The Theme Park Capital of the World around 2:30, and will prepare to participate in the MLS is Back tournament beginning next Wednesday.
A reported positive preliminary test from an NSC player Wednesday evening scuttled the first planned flight to Orlando, a delay in receiving follow-up testing was the wrench in yesterday’s works, but today everything went according to plan.
“The last couple of days have been quite confusing for the group,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “The players have dealt with it extremely professionally. With two flights pretty much canceled and some disruption from within the group, it was quite confusing, in the end as to how we were going to get down here. But finally we are.
“The flight, when we finally got on it, was fantastic: no problems at all. [We were] well looked-after and a very smooth journey into Orlando. I have to be honest, it’s been nothing but professionally done since then. We were on two separate buses into the testing, very streamlined.”
Per league protocol, the team must be on-site for 24 hours before hitting the training pitch. Initial Polymerase Chain Reaction tests were administered upon the team’s arrival at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel today. A second round of testing after those tests are returned negative for the coronavirus will allow the squad to begin getting ready tomorrow evening.
“We’ve got 24 hours of isolation now,” Smith explained. “We’ve had our one test, which means we’re due to be tested again later on tomorrow afternoon. I think we’re all hoping that we get the all-clear at some point during the day tomorrow, and then I believe we can start to just venture out of our rooms, but be sensible and be apart from anyone else.
“We’re due to train at 9:30 tomorrow night, as we we start to acclimate towards a 10:30 game on Wednesday.”
Nashville’s first of three group-stage games takes place Wednesday evening at 10:30 p.m. local – 9:30 in Nashville, broadcast on ESPN – against Chicago Fire. The top three teams from Group A will advance to the 16-team single-elimination bracket, with the fourth also earning a chance to advance on points. Getting the tournament started with a win Wednesday would go a long way toward ensuring Nashville SC’s stay in Orlando lasts longer than the three group-stage contests.
Smith interview provided by NSC Communications.