Nashville SC dropped from MLS is Back Tournament, NYCFC’s Group A schedule changes

MLS: Philadelphia Union at New York City FC
Jul 9, 2020; Kissimmee, FL, USA; New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila talks with midfielder Alexander Ring (8), defender Ronald Matarrita (22) and teammates during the first half against the Philadelphia Union at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After five players tested positive for COVID-19, Nashville SC was removed from the MLS is Back Tournament on Thursday afternoon, the league announced.

The expansion MLS side initially arrived in the Orlando bubble site at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort last Friday with one player having tested positive.

Nashville was initially set to help open Group A play on Wednesday night following the Orlando City, Inter Miami opener. But the uncertainty surrounding the viability of the squad competing forced MLS to postpone the match before making its decision on Thursday.

The Tennesseean team becomes the second team that has been forced to withdraw from MLS’ summer return tournament. FC Dallas had nine players and one staff member test positive, forcing them out of the competition. 

Now with their departure, New York City Football Club’s Group A gets that much smaller. 

Initially, the only group at the tournament to have six teams — the other five groups had four — Group A has now been reduced to four teams as well, ensuring each group has the same number of squads. 

Following Nashville’s withdrawal, the Chicago Fire has been moved from Group A to Group B where it will take the place of FC Dallas. 

Chicago was initially scheduled to be NYCFC’s third opponent, but they will now play Inter Miami in their final group stage match on Monday, July 20 at 9:00 a.m. ET (ESPN), the team announced.

Additionally, the Club’s second group stage match against Orlando City SC will remain as is on Tuesday, July 14, but has been moved to 8:00 p.m. 

NYCFC lost its Group A opener on Thursday morning, 1-0, to the Philadelphia Union.

The top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage, which begins July 25.