UPDATE 11:30 p.m. ET: A Crew spokesperson confirms that a player received a pair of consecutive positive test results for the coronavirus. Under MLS policy, the team must test two consecutive days after arrival at the MLS is Back Tournament and every other day this week leading up to games. This led to the positive tests.
According to the press release: upon receipt of the initial positive result, the player was isolated from the group and the remainder of the Crew’s delegation followed the MLS health and safety protocols, quarantining in their hotel rooms pending the results of additional COVID-19 testing. Pending MLS approval, the team will resume training following contact tracing protocol and will continue to undergo scheduled mandatory testing.
Days after arriving in Orlando, Florida for the MLS is Back Tournament, Major League Soccer’s return-to-play format following the coronavirus outbreak that stopped games in mid-March, one Columbus Crew SC players has tested positive for COVD-19. This news was first reported by ESPN soccer columnist Jeff Carlisle and was confirmed by Massive Report.
The Black & Gold, who departed for Orlando to continue preparations for the MLS is Back Tournament, confirmed earlier this week that no players had tested positive for the coronavirus. But on Thursday morning, after multiple days of training at ESPN’s Wide World of Sport, Massive Report learned that the team did receive a positive test.
It is important to note that all MLS teams who receive a positive test then follow that with a second test to avoid false positives. The Crew tested again on Thursday to confirm this one positive result. Those results should be returned on Thursday evening or Friday.
Based on protocol established by MLS for the tournament, any individual that tests positive for the coronavirus once inside the “bubble” in Orlando will be isolated at the Swan and Dolphin hotel and will remain in isolation until cleared via multiple negative tests. Once there are two negative tests in a 24-hour period, the player can return to activity.
Positive tests for the coronavirus are becoming a black cloud hanging over what was expected to be an exciting return to play for MLS. The MLS was set to be the first major men’s sports league in the United States to return to play, using the “bubble” format where all teams operated out of one location to avoid the spread of the virus.
But on Wednesday, multiple members of the FC Dallas traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving at the Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday. The Crew’s positive test, along with other MLS teams who are hesitant to depart their home cities, puts the MLS is Back Tournament, which is scheduled to start on July 8, in doubt.
The Crew is scheduled to begin its MLS is Back Tournament on July 11 against FC Cincinnati. The Black & Gold are then set to take on the New York Red Bulls on July 16 and Atlanta United on July 21 to conclude Group E.