MLS announced Thursday Nashville SC is the second team to depart the MLS is Back Tournament having not played a game, with a coronavirus outbreak significant enough that nine players of that team have tested positive inside the bubble in Orlando. They join FC Dallas to be left out of the competition as a result of coronavirus outbreaks.
That leaves the field with 24 teams, and MLS announced an adjustment to two groups, including the San Jose Earthquakes’. With Nashville, in Group A, dropping out, there were five teams in Group A and three in Group B, the Quakes’ group. As a result, the Chicago Fire have been moved to Group B, so all six groups will now be made up of four teams each.
San Jose’s opening Group B game, against the Seattle Sounders, is still scheduled for Friday at 6 pm PT, and their second game, against the Vancouver Whitecaps, will remain scheduled for Wednesday, July 15.
But the third game, now coming against the Fire, will be on Sunday, July 19, moved up a day from the originally scheduled game against Dallas.
So there you have it. While the new opponent on short notice is quite a wrinkle for the Earthquakes to navigate, having them on the final matchday gives they plenty of time to prepare and watch tape. And honestly, having all the groups be four teams each makes a lot more sense than a group of five teams and a group of three teams.
Now, we’ll just have to hope the remaining 24 teams can stay healthy to continue the tournament, and of course, best wishes for the Nashville and FC Dallas teams and here’s hoping everyone recovers well.
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