Two of the league’s prominent players, LAFC’s Carlos Vela, who is the reigning MLS MVP, and Ike Opara, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, made the decision not to enter the bubble for different reasons. Vela’s wife is pregnant. Opara is rehabbing a pre-existing condition. Additionally, five of Vancouver’s players have also declined to participate.
The league made FC Dallas withdraw Monday after 10 players and another member of the team tested positive. A report stated that Dallas had a going-away party before it traveled to Orlando. On Tuesday, the league rescheduled Nashville’s opening game against Chicago in the tournament from July 8 to a date to be announced. Five Nashville players have tested positive since it arrived in Orlando. Four players have received inconclusive test results.
De Boer said Monday that he thinks his players feel safe while in the bubble.
“It’s not extra stress, but we realize that we have to take care of each other for the health and safety of everyone,” Ezequiel Barco said on a Zoom call Wednesday.
Lennon said something similar, stressing that their focus is on the point of the competition: to win.
“There have been a lot of hiccups since teams started to arrive in the bubble,” he said. “Definitely difficult, challenging times. Hoping it stays to the end and we can bring some silverware or whatever it may be back to Atlanta.”