Nashville out of Orlando MLS tourney after 9 players test positive for coronavirus

Sports

NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 29: Anibal Godoy #20 of the Nashville SC walks off the field with teammates at the end of the first half against the Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nashville SC has withdrawn from Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back tournament in Florida after nine players tested positive for the coronavirus, the league announced Thursday.

Nashville is the second team to withdraw from the tournament. FC Dallas had to pull out after 10 players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19.

“Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “For every decision we make in our return to play, the well-being of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority.”

The league is revising its schedule to reflect Nashville’s withdrawal, first reported by The Athletic. The 24 teams playing in the tournament are divided into six groups of four teams for the group stage.

The World Cup-style tournament is being played at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World. Teams are sequestered in two resorts and subject to rigorous virus testing.

The group stage of the tournament, which opened Wednesday night with Orlando City’s 2-1 victory over Inter Miami, runs 16 consecutive days. The results of the preliminary round count toward the regular season.

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