The Chicago Fire are scheduled to depart for the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando on Wednesday, and to this point, no Fire players or staff have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a club spokesperson.
The Fire will train at the club’s facility at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview this week before leaving for Florida, where they’ll enter Major League Soccer’s “bubble,” where players will be restricted to their hotel outside of training and matches to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
With Florida’s positive test numbers near the top of the U.S., it’ll take a monster effort to keep players and staff safe. Orange County, Florida, where the tournament will take place, has seen 680 positive cases in the last two weeks—that’s up from 129 in the two week period before that.
Clearly, that’s not a good trend heading into the tournament. With that in mind, here’s where the league stands now, and how it plans to keep the coronavirus from spreading at the tournament:
- MLS announced 18 players and six club staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the league resumed full team training on June 4. In all, 668 players have been tested.
- All players and staff received two Polymerase Chain Reaction tests prior to resuming full team training. Those tests were done 24 hours apart, and 72 hours before training resumed. Since then, every player and technical staff member has been tested every other day, according to the league.
- That pattern is repeated before teams leave for Florida—two PCR tests 24 hours apart, 72 hours before leaving. Once arriving, players and staff will be tested again, and will remain in quarantine until the results come back.
- The San Jose Earthquakes—the only team that wasn’t cleared to resume full team training at home—were the first team to arrive at the Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Since then, the Quakes have been joined by Orlando City, FC Dallas, Columbus Crew, and Minnesota United. Of those teams, two out of 329 people have tested positive immediately after arriving, according to MLS. If a person tests positive while in Orlando, they’ll be moved to an isolation area of the hotel until he or she receives medical clearance.
The Chicago Fire are scheduled to leave for Orlando on Wednesday. Until then, the club will train in Bridgeview.— Patrick McCraney (@patrickmccraney) June 29, 2020
A club spokesperson confirms no #cffc players or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. #cf97 pic.twitter.com/bS1J8pROsZ
Fire head coach Raphael Wicky is scheduled to talk to reporters over a video call on Tuesday. The Fire open the tournament July 8 against Nashville SC at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.