FC Dallas announced on Monday that MLS is withdrawing the franchise from the MLS is Back tournament after 10 players and a member of the staff tested positive for COVID-19 while in Orlando.
“As we continue to focus on the well-being of our players, coaches and staff who are in isolation in Orlando, we understand it is not in their best interests to compete at this time,” FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez said in a statement. “While we’re disappointed, the health and safety of our traveling delegation as well as our league partners is our highest priority.”
Orlando Pride withdrew from the NWSL tournament after an outbreak of COVID-19 hit that locker room. Six players and four members of the staff tested positive before Pride even left Florida for the tournament in Utah.
FC Dallas had already arrived in Orlando for the MLS event when the positive tests began piling up throughout the past few weeks. Players have also decided to not risk the chance of contracting the disease while being in the bubble in Florida and decided to sit out the competition entirely - notably LAFC star Carlos Vela. Inter Miami forward and No. 1 overall pick Robbie Robinson is also sitting out the event due to personal reasons.
Florida passed 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on July 5 and reported another 6,000+ positive cases on Monday. The state is in the spotlight for the sports world as MLS plans to kick off a tournament there on July 8. NBA teams are also scheduled to arrive in Orlando this week as the basketball league resumes the 2019-2020 season starting at the end of the month.
FC Dallas’ withdrawal is just the latest in a string of negative feedback about the organization of the tournament in regards to player safety. Colorado Rapids forward Diego Rubio tweeted on Sunday that players with positive test results were still leaving their rooms while in the bubble because no one was bringing them meals. Even though previous reports about the meals in Orlando suggest the players would have been better off elsewhere.
FC Dallas will work with local health officials to help return the team safely to Texas and properly quarantine to minimize risk of exposure to others.