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TFC leaves for Florida with concerns over Covid-19 situation that awaits

Toronto FC heads to Florida with some unease given recent positive tests there by FC Dallas players and the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases state-wide.

“There’s concern, no doubt,” said head coach Greg Vanney. “Because it’s showing that the (MLS) bubble is not impenetrable and there are some issues that are going on. The question is how quickly can the protocols that are in place down there get things under control so it doesn’t start to spread inside of the bubble.

The TFC delegation is programmed to leave Friday, the latest permitted by Major League Soccer which has mandated teams have to arrive at least a week before their first match. Toronto opens July 10 versus D.C. United.

The seven-day requirement is presumably to allow players time to be isolated if they test positive in Florida.

Not everything has been smooth in the leadup to leaving. Vanney said training had to be scrapped Wednesday because of a delay in getting COVID test results back.

Still, Vanney says his players wants to take part in the tournament and are motivated to go deep into the World-Cup style event.

“At the same time, obviously they’re not oblivious to what’s happening,” he told a media conference call Thursday.

The league said Wednesday that two FC Dallas players tested positive upon arrival Saturday at the league’s host hotel in Florida. Another four tested positive within the last few days.

The entire Dallas party went into isolation pending additional testing.

While teams are staying in the same hotel, they are supposed to be isolated from other squads.

The Columbus Dispatch, citing a source, reported Thursday that a Columbus player had also tested positive in Florida. The Crew arrived Sunday.

Nashville SC, meanwhile, said Thursday that it had postponed its arranged departure for Florida because its pre-travel screening tests had not been received in time. It plans to leave Friday, pending receipt of the test results.

Vanney says his team wants to “the best of our ability” create its own bubble with the MLS bubble. “What we can control is what we do,” he said. “That’s the first and foremost thing that we’ve got to try to do.”

Vanney says all MLS players coming into the bubble bear a responsibility to do the right thing leading into entering the controlled environment.

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