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Coronavirus —

Ten players from Váci NKSE, the Vác handball team of the Hungarian first league, have tested positive for coronavirus, the club reported Tuesday., which has again suspended training that it had resumed at the end of May after the stoppage due to the pandemic.

“Our team has restarted the work respecting all security measures, among others, testing (for coronavirus) twice a week, which until now had given negative results, “says Váci NKSE in a message published on his Facebook account.

“Unfortunately, and despite the fact that we have applied all the security measures, last week several players have shown symptoms of covid-19, partially losing their sense of smell “ and tests have shown that ten players have been infected, emphasizes the note.

After detecting these cases, The team, which finished sixth last season (2019-2020), has suspended training for at least twenty days.

The next season will start in the first days of September.

In Hungary, there are currently 4,155 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 585 deceased patients.

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The MLS is Back, but should it be?

The teams have trickled into Orlando and the grass at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex is freshly cut.

Yet the “MLS is Back” tournament will separate players from their families during a worldwide pandemic, and take place without an entire club and the league’s reigning MVP.

Is it really worth it?

“I’ve personally always been against the tournament and travelling down,” New York City FC midfielder Maxi Moralez said through a translator recently during a virtual team media day.

How could you blame him?

In fairness to the league, the June 10 announcement for the tournament came weeks before Florida’s drastic surge in coronavirus cases that has made it one of the country’s current hotspots (it reported its biggest daily rise in new confirmed cases on Saturday).

BREAKING: Florida reported 11,458 new coronavirus cases Saturday, shattering its record for daily reported cases. To date, the state health department has reported a total of 190,052 cases.

— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) July 4, 2020

Now, though, the tournament is starting to look less like a realistic plan and more like a pipe dream.

After arriving in Orlando, 10 FC Dallas players tested positive for coronavirus and the team was booted from the tournament on Monday. (FC Dallas had three players test positive for the virus before traveling to Orlando, but the team said everyone in the traveling party had tested negatively.)

Nashville SC has had five confirmed positive tests of their own, according to The Athletic, while the Columbus Crew has seen a positive test in Orlando, too. The Red Bulls, Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids have all delayed their arrivals to Orlando at various points, and several games have already been rescheduled.

To convince yourself that the tournament is a good idea at this point is an exercise in mental gymnastics.

“From what we’ve been told and from what I understand…the league has really believed that we’re [in] as safe a situation as we could possibly be in,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims told reporters Monday, “and that things are working as they intended.” His club is scheduled to make its tournament debut on Thursday vs. the Philadelphia Union.

Of course some positive tests are to be expected (the numbers are actually relatively low so far) and most of those positives stemmed from one team.

Still, none of this is ideal, and more importantly, none of it is truly necessary. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to squint and look past the flaws in the bubble plan — like the hotel staffers who can freely leave the bubble — and hold it up as the only option. Not playing is an option, too, and the league’s best player is exercising that right.

Reigning MVP and LAFC captain Carlos Vela announced Monday that he would not be travelling to the tournament, instead choosing to stay at home with his pregnant wife. There’s nothing wrong with Vela’s choice; the problem lies with Vela’s need to make it.

Carlos VelaGetty Images

A similar situation occurred with the Red Bulls, who are set to return to action Saturday night vs. Atlanta, as Southampton loanee Josh Sims returned to England “in light of the ongoing effects of the global pandemic and all of the uncertainties that remain.” The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Tuesday that five of their players would not be making the trip either.

With Vela and the whole of FC Dallas out, and players’ health at risk, ask yourself this question: Is the MLS truly back, or is some inferior mutation replacing it for the time being?

It’s all beginning to seem a bit forced, though Sims has taken an accommodating approach with his players.

“If they at any point are down there and feel unsafe and want to come home, we’ll get em’ back as soon as possible,” he said Monday.

see also
Soccer team ravaged by coronavirus forced to drop out An MLS team ravaged by the coronavirus was forced to...

Sims’ point, however well-intentioned, shows why staging a tournament with legitimate ramifications right now is a misguided idea. How can you award a CONCACAF Champions League berth for winning an event that not everyone is on board with?

Of course, MLS fans want the league back, and MLS wants to take advantage of a dry period in US team sports (other than the NWSL). But a restart that poses a legitimate question of safety to players and staff is not a proper restart at all.

Maybe the tournament will go on without any major hiccups. Maybe MLS will captivate the country’s attention for a few weeks. Maybe the league will prove that the bubble format can thrive.

None of that would change the fact there were risks — risks that far outweigh the rewards — from the beginning.

Even after a Dallas team that entered Orlando with zero positive tests left with 10, the league is deciding that risk is worth it.

I can’t say I agree.

Filed under analysis ,  mls ,  new york city fc ,  new york red bulls ,  7/8/20 Share this article: Share this:
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