Toronto FC have now twice delayed their trip to Orlando for the MLS tournament, after a member of their travel party reported experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
They often say you should be careful what you wish for. This must have entered Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney’s thinking in light of recent events.
Vanney had recently expressed concern about heading to Orlando for the MLS is back Tournament, after the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida. It was suggested on Tim & Sid last week, that he was hoping the trip would be delayed.
This apparent hope has now become a reality, after a member of TFC’s travelling party told the medical staff they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. As reported per CBC, the club were originally meant to fly to Orlando on Friday, but this was delayed by one day to allow more time to complete pre-travel testing.
However, the rescheduled flight has now also been delayed, with no set date for when TFC will fly to Orlando. As per CBC, the entire travel party is undergoing another round of testing and will not leave Toronto until the results are received.
This has understandably caused a lot of uncertainty for the club, who are meant to be playing their first group match on Friday, against D.C. United. This uncertainty will in turn potentially impact MLS as a whole.
The Vancouver Whitecaps were set to face FC Dallas on Thursday. However, the match had to be postponed after six FC Dallas players tested positive for COVID-19 following their arrival in Orlando.
If news of positive cases continue to grow, you have to wonder how this will impact the desire of individuals or clubs as a whole to take part in the MLS tournament. No matter how many security measures are put in place, there is no 100 percent guarantee of safety.
Ironically, it is the security measures which have been put in place, which may well result in Carlos Vela missing the tournament altogether. As per Daniel Rouse of theScore, the reigning MLS MVP’s wife is pregnant, but family and friends are not allowed to stay with players during the month-long event.
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As things stand the tournament will go ahead as planned, with the league no doubt already having prepared for matches being rescheduled. As such, even if Toronto FC do end up arriving too late for their clash with D.C. United, it will just be moved to a later date.
However, if the number of positive tests continues to grow and impacts more matches in the schedule, this is when the tournament could be thrown into chaos. At what point would MLS admit it isn’t working and cancel the event, or at least postpone it for the foreseeable future?
Of course we are all hoping it doesn’t come to this. However, it is still out there as a potential scenario which has to be closely monitored moving forward.
In the meantime, Toronto FC will continue to deal with the unique circumstances as much as possible, with flexibility being the key to how they approach everything. As per James Grossi of torontofc.ca, Vanney said:
"“We’re trying to understand all the different variables and be prepared for those, whether it’s the unique starting (times), the facilities are a little bit different, in terms of the locker room space and all that. The opposition is just one variable. Because our group has been together for a lot of time, a lot of years, and a lot of games, we’ve got a good sense of who we are and how we will adapt to the situations.”"
What is your position on Toronto FC taking part in the MLS is back tournament? Do you want them to participate, or do you believe it is too risky to be travelling to and staying in Florida at this time? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.