Major League Soccer announced an updated format and schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament on Thursday and that Nashville SC have been withdrawn from the competition.
Since arriving in Orlando, nine players on Nashville have had confirmed positive test results for COVID-19. The decision was made in the best interest of the health of all players and staff participating in the tournament, and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts, the league said.
“We have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament. Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “For every decision we make in our return to play, the wellbeing of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority."
As a result of the withdrawal of Dallas and Nashville, MLS has reconfigured the groups into six groups, each consisting of four teams, as well as an update to the qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi.
Chicago Fire FC have moved from Group A to Group B in the MLS is Back Tournament to join San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Chicago and Nashville will remain in the Eastern Conference for the rest of the 2020 regular season.
The new match schedule for Chicago Fire FC in Group B is as follows
- July 14: Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)
- July 19: Chicago Fire FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8 pm (FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
- July 23: Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)
Additionally, the schedule for one other Group B match has been updated:
- July 19: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
The revised Group A schedule has been created to replace those Group A matches which previously included Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC:
- July 14: Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
- July 14: New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
- July 20: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8 pm (TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
- July 20 Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9 am (ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada)
Qualification for the Knockout Stage presented by Audi
After 16 consecutive days of group stage matches, 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.