sportsFC Dallas

FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez expresses club’s ‘disappointment’ in withdrawal from MLS is Back Tournament

Gonzalez: “Unfortunately, we’re the example."

FC Dallas players and coaches are still coming to terms with being withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament by Major League Soccer.

Monday, the club and league announced due to 10 players and a member of FCD’s coaching staff testing positive for COVID-19 the team was withdrawn from the tournament.

FCD head coach Luchi Gonzalez was still visibly distraught on a zoom call from his hotel room in Orlando on Tuesday. Gonzalez said he and the rest of the team were more than a week into their isolation period.

“There is a lot of disappointment and sadness, but what can you do?” Gonzalez said. “It’s going to sting more when we see the other teams playing. But that’s not the most important thing. The important thing is that we are doing everything to take care of the players who tested positive.”

According to Gonzalez, the teams’ struggles began on day one in Orlando, when the first round of tests was conducted and slowly but surely the club started seeing the cases within its cohort begin to rise.

“The day we got here, things started to become difficult,” Gonzalez said. “Because the tests over here, when we got here, we started to see consecutive results every day. That put us in the situation where we aren’t even in the tournament anymore.”

While FCD isn’t the only team dealing with several positive tests, they are the only team as of right now to be pulled from competition. Nashville SC, one of the new MLS expansion teams in its first year, had their first match of the tournament postponed after several players tested positive.

Since the announcement of FCD’s withdrawal yesterday, reports have surfaced that other MLS teams pressured the league office to take FCD out of the competition sighting failure to follow proper protocols. When asked about those reports, Gonzalez confirmed the team followed every rule set forth by the league.

“Nobody did anything with malicious intent, so that FC Dallas had coronavirus or that this player had it or so that there would be a negative consequence. No,” Gonzalez said. “As a club, as a head coach, I have a lot of faith that we did everything the way it was supposed to be done. We followed the protocol given to us by the league. We are all doing the best that we can.”

Gonzalez said that while “unfortunately, we’re the example,” a situation like this was likely to rise at some point during the process of returning to play. With other major sports leagues preparing to return to play in the coming weeks, Gonzalez said he didn’t feel like MLS rushed back to things.

“This had to happen eventually. There had to be this experience eventually,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if it’s just a tournament at one site or the league continues home and away… When is the right moment to have done this? There is no right moment. They could’ve done this when it all first started and gotten the same result. Or they could’ve waited another three months.

“Maybe the perfect or safest moment is in two years. But is the league going to even exist in two years probably not if we had to wait that long. At some point there needed to be a calculated risk and we all needed to go for it.”

Find more FC Dallas stories from The Dallas Morning News here.

Angel Franco, Sports reporter for SportsDay and Al Día. Angel covers sports in English for the Morning News and in Spanish for Al Día. She is a proud El Pasoan who will gladly debate how there is no food greater than Mexican food, especially the one cooked by her mom and abuelita. A Texas A&M University product she spent three years as the sports editor at the student-newspaper, The Battalion.

angel.franco@dallasnews.com angelmadison_
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