Columbus Crew fans woke up Wednesday morning to surprising news. Over the last year, there are been plenty of last-minute announcements of players missing games due to “health and safety protocols” as the world continues to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, but this one was a bit different.
The Crew announced that head coach Caleb Porter did not make the trip with his not make the trip to Wednesday’s match in Tennessee against Nashville SC. Porter is under the MLS “health and safety protocols” guidelines and will not be on the sidelines for Wednesday night’s road match for the Black & Gold against Nashville.
Assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson will assume the head coaching duties on the sideline on Wednesday for the Crew at Nissan Stadium. It will be the first time he takes on head coaching duties for the club in what is a very important game to keep any MLS Cup playoff chances alive.
Porter joins Luis Diaz and Jonathan Mensah as the current Black & Gold members to be under health and safety protocols by MLS. The league’s protocols require coaches and players to be under a mandatory quarantine if they contract or come into close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, depending on their vaccination status. The quarantine required is at least five days and not participate in matches or training for two weeks.
Exception to those rules comes if a player or coach is vaccinated. Should an individual be past the two week period of being fully vaccinated, they are exempt from the five-day quarantine if they continue to test negative for two weeks and are asymptomatic. Regardless of vaccination status, any player or coach that does show symptoms cannot be with the team.
Porter is in his third season coaching the Crew and helped the team win its second-ever MLS Cup title last season. He just reached a milestone achievement on Saturday in Columbus’ 4-0 win against Inter Miami, which was the 100th for Porter in the MLS regular season, making him and Bruce Arena the only active two coaches in the league with 100 regular season wins and multiple MLS Cup victories.
The Black & Gold are in Nashville for Wednesday night’s match with Nashville SC, its 30th game in the 2021 MLS season. Kick off for the game is set for 8:30 pm EST.