MLS intends to repatriate, by charter flight, all players from clubs involved in the playoffs who are currently with their national team, all with the goal of making them available for the play-offs that will take place over the weekend.
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This measure, technically, could concern the Montreal Impact, which would have to manage without midfielder Victor Wanyama for Friday’s game against the New England Revolution.
Wanyama, Montreal’s only designated player, is currently with the Kenya team, where he is captain. He also faced the Comoros on Sunday for an African Cup of Nations qualifying match. However, the Impact has not communicated anything since Tuesday about Wanyama.
MLS announced on Tuesday its repatriation plan which was approved by a team of medical specialists. It has been determined that in a charter flight, the players in question will be in a controlled environment which, combined with that of their national team, could prevent them from self-quarantining upon their return.
All of this, of course, provided that they are not tested positive for COVID during the process.
In total, 13 of the 18 qualifying teams have at least one player who has gone to the national team. The league has not identified all of the affected players, but it is reportedly aiming to bring back “as many as possible”.
Rossi positive for COVID
In fact, LAFC will likely do without Uruguayan winger Diego Rossi, who tested positive for COVID on Wednesday, when he was with his national team.
The 22-year-old was undoubtedly among those who could be targeted by the measure announced above, as was his teammate Brian Rodriguez, who did not test positive for COVID with Uruguay.
Rossi, top scorer in MLS this year, will represent a heavy loss for LAFC, which also momentarily loses the services of fullback Diego Palacios and midfielder Jose Cifuentes for the same reason.
ESPN revealed on Wednesday that a team struggling with a COVID outbreak in its ranks during the playoffs could be forced to forfeit and see their run come to an end.
In the event of an outbreak, the league would try to postpone the game first, but with the playoff schedule extremely compressed, such a thing may, in some cases, be impossible.
If a team has to forfeit, their opponent could go directly to the next round. If both teams are struggling with an outbreak, the one with the best regular season record would be selected for the next round.
Since September 25, the league has had to cancel or postpone 11 games due to COVID outbreaks. The Colorado Rapids were particularly affected by these measures.