As many expected, Nashville SC has withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament after nine players tested positive for COVID-19. The Nashville withdrawal news was first reported today by The Athletic and has since been confirmed by the league.
The positive tests were confirmed Wednesday and it became obvious that the expansion side would not be able to continue. Major League Soccer was forced to make changes to the schedule and format with both Nashville and FC Dallas pulling out of the event.
Orlando City’s group in the tournament — Group A — started out as the only group with six teams (OCSC, Inter Miami, New York City FC, the Philadelphia Union, Nashville SC, and the Chicago Fire). All other groups had four. MLS today announced that Chicago will move to Group B in place of FC Dallas, giving every group four teams. Chicago had yet to play in the tournament and both Philadelphia and Orlando were slated to play Nashville, so this was the easiest way to adjust things.
As a result, Orlando City will now face the Philadelphia Union — a seemingly much more difficult opponent — on July 20. The Union joined Orlando City at the top of the Group A standings this morning with a 1-0 win over New York City FC.
The good news for Orlando fans is that the team’s game times have changed. The match against NYCFC next Tuesday was moved from a 10:30 p.m. start time to 8 p.m. The July 20 meeting with Philadelphia will also be at 8 p.m. rather than the originally scheduled start time of 9 a.m. Both games will be televised on TUDN and the Lions get to finish the group stage with only prime time matches.
Here’s the revised remaining schedule for Group A:
- July 14: Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 14: New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 20: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)
- July 20: Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)
The Chicago Fire will play a more congested schedule on July 14, 19, and 23 against Seattle, San Jose, and Vancouver, respectively.