Update 4:14: p.m. ET: A team spokesperson confirmed these two additional positive tests to Massive Report. At this time, the club is in dialogue with the MLS but there has been no discussion of forfeiture of the upcoming MLS Cup playoff match against Nashville SC.
The Columbus Crew is up to six total positive COVID-19 cases. According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, two more Crew players tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The Black & Gold announced four positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday evening, two on Sunday and two more on Tuesday. The team continued testing each day this week. The Crew did not immediately return a request for comment.
Columbus received the first two confirmed positive tests for players on Sunday, Nov. 22. After both players self-isolated and followed the club’s protocol, extensive contact tracing and facility sanitation took place. The team had a scheduled day off on Monday followed by two more players testing positive from Tuesday’s round of COVID-19 tests. These players also self-isolated and followed the club protocol.
According to MLS policy, players undergo Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests every other day in normal circumstances, including the day before each match. The player’s positive test is confirmed when a player receives two consecutive positive test results.
With six positive cases amongst the Crew squad, the match against Nashville SC in the MLS Cup playoffs is up in the air. Currently, the match is still scheduled for Sunday evening at MAPFRE Stadium but Major League Soccer has not made a statement about if the game will be rescheduled. The last day of the conference semifinals is Wednesday, Dec 2 and the scheduled date for the conference finals is Sunday, Dec 6.
Reports from ESPN earlier this week stated that teams with COVID-19 outbreaks during the MLS Cup playoffs could be forced to forfeit due to a lack of time to reschedule. There is no word from MLS yet if this game against Nashville will or can be rescheduled to later in the week.
According to a statement from the Crew on Thursday, the club will continue to test each day this week in the build-up to Sunday’s playoff game.
This is the third instance during the 2020 season the Crew has dealt with positive COVID-19 tests. The Black & Gold had a player test positive early in Orlando, Florida prior to the MLS is Back Tournament in July. That player had to quarantine away from the team before he was cleared to play. Columbus then had to postpone the team’s Oct. 11 game against Orlando City SC game after two staff members, not coaches, tested positive for the virus two days prior to the game.
Massive Report will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.