Hello. Please don’t have coronavirus. Courtesy Nashville SC media relations.
It’s official: with 11 positive tests (10 of them from players) for the novel coronavirus, FC Dallas has been withdrawn from the MLS is Back tournament.
American Soccer Analysis crunched the numbers in various ways, but for the sake of this post, their most important work in that post is compiling the reports of positive tests by team. Here’s how it breaks down:
As of July 4th, there have been 2752 total tests and 14 positives (0.5%) from scheduled testing, affecting three teams: FC Dallas (11), Minnesota United (one likely false positive), Columbus Crew (one), and Nashville SC (one and up to 4 more).
MLS’s latest update indicates 13 total positive tests from the player pool: 10 from FC Dallas, and three others, two from a single team and another who is the only positive on his own team.
I may be reading too much into the phrasing here, but that reads like the Columbus Crew positive has been confirmed, the Minnesota test has been (as expected) disconfirmed, while the Nashville true positive remains, and only one of the other four players came back as a true positive, the other three concluded to be negative tests. From that perspective, Nashville’s situation – again, assuming MLS’s phrasing is significant – isn’t close to Dallas’s just yet. It’s twice as bad as any other team (Columbus), which is still bad. Yes, we live in a world where we’re splitting hair about degrees of badness
The teams probably shouldn’t be rushing to Orlando, or rushing into competition at this point anyway. I understand the reason the MLSPA wanted to minimize pre-tournament time spent in Orlando, and wanted to negotiate for it (especially as one of their few “wins” after a contentious CBA battle in which they felt unfairly treated), but the short lead time is making this a dangerous proposition.
The question, then, is just how cautious Major League Soccer wants to be with its players’ lives. Even for young, healthy people, coronavirus is no joke (and if individuals don’t develop the COVID-19 disease, there’s a worry among researchers that there could still be long-term effects). If Nashville does indeed end up with “only” two true positives… man, it doesn’t seem worth it.
Selfishly, I would love to see soccer. I would love to see Nashville SC in just its third official game as an MLS team. I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t know if the league brass is going to feel the same way.