Nashville SC to leave Tournament due to confirmed COVID cases, prompting MLS to change format


After the completion of the Union-NYCFC match, news broke from The Athletic that stated that Nashville SC would be withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament. Major League Soccer has confirmed their report and has shown the appropriate changes in the tournament format.

Mandatory Credit: Shelley Mays/, Nashville Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC

On the first night of the tournament, there was a buzz about Nashville as confirmed cases in the team rose to 9 players. MLS commissioner Don Garber announced on ESPN at halftime of the Orlando-Miami match that they would evaluate overnight and make a decision. About 12 hours later Nashville was withdrawn.

In the official press release on the withdrawal of Nashville Garber said, “We have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament.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.”

He continued, “For every decision, we make in our return to play, the wellbeing of our players, staff, officials, and all participants is our top priority.”

According to The Athletic, the healthy Nashville players voted to stay in the Tournament and play, the league did not listen to that request, and it makes sense as to why. The press release from MLS states that this decision is one for the health of all involved in the tournament. They don’t want to take any chances with this ugly disease that is wreaking havoc in our country and where the tournament is being played. It continued to state that this decision is in line with protocols that were created with local and national health officials.

Heres Nashville SC official comment on the decision:

A change in Format

Now that Nashville and Dallas have been withdrawn from the tournament, there are only 24 teams who will participate. Because of this, in the original format there Group A had six teams and group B had four. Nashville was a part of Group A and Dallas a part of Group B. This complicates the groups for the tournament, but there is a solution that MLS has made to fix this.

Since Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia and NYCFC have all played a match for Group A, that leaves Chicago stranded. In Group B the three teams, Seattle, San Jose and Vancouver have yet to play a match. This allowed MLS to move Chicago to Group B.

Here’s a look at the updated Groups

This means that the top two teams for each group make it to the knockout rounds, as do the top four third-place teams. But how will the change in matches for teams be laid out?

Updated schedule of the matches for Groups A and B

Group A:

July 14 – Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)

July 14 – New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)

July 20 – Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City SC, 8:00 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)

July 20 – Inter Miami CF vs. New York City FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)

Group B:

July 10 – Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)

July 14 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)

July 15 – Vancouver WhiteCaps FC vs San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. (TUDN/TSN)

July 19 – Chicago Fire FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8:00 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)

July 19 – Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)

July 23 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 9:00 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)

Be sure to catch all these matches as the MLS is Back Tournament roles on! Hopefully, there will be no more withdrawals needed.

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Mandatory Credit: Shelley Mays/, Nashville Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC