MLS 'bubble' has its first coronavirus outbreak, and it's all on one team

Major League Soccer is just over a week away from resuming its season in the bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, but things are off to an ominous start before a single ball has been kicked.

MLS announced on Wednesday that six members of FC Dallas have tested positive for COVID-19 since the team arrived in Orlando. The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio confirmed the original report from FC Dallas blog 3rd Degree, which has been doing its own independent reporting.

Just a few hours later, The Athletic reported the total number to up to nine, plus one coach.

On Tuesday, MLS announced that there had been four more positive tests, but didn’t identify the names of the players or their teams at that time. Those four positives, all FC Dallas players, came from a round of tests conducted on Monday and administered to 392 players, coaches, referees, MLS staff and club staff. Two earlier positives, also from FC Dallas, were announced on Monday.

While it’s surprising that all the positives are reportedly on just one team, it makes a sense that it’s a team from Texas, which is experiencing one of the country’s worst and most alarming COVID-19 spikes. But it’s bad news for FC Dallas, which could be missing up to nine players next week.

We don’t know the symptom status of anyone who has tested positive, so they could be sick or completely asymptomatic. If they are asymptomatic, it’s not clear how long those nine players will be required to quarantine.

MLS has moved all players who tested positive to isolation in a different part of the host hotel. In their statement, they also revealed that no other members of the MLS delegation at the host hotel have tested positive, and no other club has been in contact with FC Dallas since they arrived in Florida.

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