On Monday, FC Dallas — the Sounders’ second opponent of the MLS is Back Tournament — withdrew from play after 10 players tested positive for coronavirus. And on Tuesday, a second adjustment was made to the Sounders’ schedule as the league balances a return to play amid the pandemic.
Seattle will now play its tournament opener against the San Jose Earthquakes earlier, at 6 p.m. PT on Friday, instead of 7:30 p.m. This is in addition to the cancellation of the Sounders’ match against FC Dallas, originally set for July 15.
The Sounders’ time shift is due to MLS postponing the July 8 match between Nashville SC and the Chicago Fire FC after five Nashville players tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in the league’s bubble on July 3. Four more Nashville players are awaiting further testing after receiving inconclusive results.
Nashville’s arrival was already delayed because of inconclusive tests prior to takeoff. MLS said it will continue to evaluate Nashville’s participation and announce at a later date when the match against Chicago will be played.
Elsewhere in the bracket, the Toronto FC match against D.C. United was pushed back two days to July 12 from July 10. That change was made because the Reds delayed their travel to Florida due to testing.
Players who test positive are moved to an isolation wing where MLS’s clubs are sequestered at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort southwest of Orlando. The remainder of the team must be quarantined in their respective hotel rooms and test negative for the virus prior to resuming activities.
Seattle, which said it hasn’t had a positive test since one in May, also entered the bubble July 3. The club’s official social-media accounts have shown the players training in ballrooms and outdoors, swimming and playing beach volleyball in the sun in anticipation of the tournament’s start, which is still slated to kick off with Orlando City SC against Inter Miami CF on Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT from ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
Fans are not permitted. Wednesday’s match and the Sounders’ opener will air on ESPN.
In addition to Dallas and Nashville’s positive tests, one player from Columbus tested positive. Testing results from the five clubs that arrived Monday were expected to be made public Tuesday afternoon.