An inconclusive COVID-19 test result for a member of the New York Red Bulls staff caused the club to postpone its scheduled flight Friday to Orlando, where Major League Soccer is preparing to restart its season with its MLS is Back Tournament on July 8, the team announced Friday afternoon.
The team is slated to face Atlanta United in the first of its three group-stage games in MLS’s World Cup-style tournament, which will be the league’s return to play after the coronavirus caused it to shut down on March 12. Initially, the Red Bulls had planned to go to Florida on Wednesday, but the team rescheduled after MLS announced that day that six players from FC Dallas – which already was in Orlando – had tested positive for the coronavirus.
All the Red Bulls personnel tested for the virus Thursday and the team then planned to travel to Orlando on Friday afternoon before getting the one questionable result. According to the team, only the one result was in question.
“All other staff and players tested negative on Thursday and have not had interaction with each other since Wednesday,’’ the team’s statement read. “The team is working on rescheduling travel plans once all test results are confirmed.’’
Most teams had played just two games when MLS halted play one day after the NBA suspended its season when one of its players, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for the virus. As various sports leagues planned for a return to play, MLS came up with the idea of staging a tournament in Orlando, where the league could create a “bubble’’ for the league’s 26 teams inside the ESPN sports complex at Disney World, the same place where the NBA intends to play its games as it restarts its season.
The Red Bulls are scheduled to face Atlanta on July 11. FC Dallas, which reportedly has nine players test positive, are scheduled to open July 9 against Vancouver.