After hearing from head coach Jim Curtin on Friday about players in MLS’ COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the Union released a list of players in those protocols Saturday morning on their game day notes. There are 11 players listed in the protocols, and it throws yet another wrench into how the Union will prepare for their biggest match in club history.
11 Union players status for eastern conference final in question
The Union’s report of the players in MLS’ health and safety protocols mentions 11 players. They are:
- Andre Blake
- Jakob Glesnes
- Kai Wagner
- Alejandro Bedoya
- Sergio Santos
- Cory Burke
- Joe Bendik
- Jack Elliot
- Alvas Powell
- Quinn Sullivan
This is about as bad as Union fans were predicting yesterday as they pined the internet for videos of Friday’s training. This list brings clarity, and breathes into the Union’s next-man-up mentality, but also brings a bit of panic to the hearts of fans. The worst part of who is on this list for Philly is that there are key starters on there who might not be able to play against NYCFC in the eastern conference final.
Key Starters in health and safety protocol
This list contains the club’s captain, their hero goalkeeper, two starting centerback and left-back, and two of the team’s three strikers. Those four starters on the list could be a big hit if they can’t suit up for the team. Ale Bedoya is the lifeblood of the team, Andre Blake is the security blanket, Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliot a top centerback in MLS, and Kai Wagner is crucial to the way the Union defends and springs counter-attacks.
This is most definitely not ideal, but it does not necessarily mean that these players are out for Sunday’s eastern conference final against NYCFC just yet.
What does this all mean?
According to MLS’ health and safety protocols, vaccinated players who meet the definition of a high-risk close contact don’t have to observe the five-day quarantine period for high-risk close contact if they can check off the following:
- The individual is fully vaccinated at the time of exposure, meaning the exposure took place at least two weeks following receipt of the second dose in a two-dose vaccine series, or at least four weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
- Is asymptomatic.
- Continues to test negative.
These are very important caveats as the Union has players who are fully vaccinated. While the team has not stated whether or not the entire team is fully vaccinated, the consensus seems to be that the majority of the players are fully vaccinated. Therefore, a player could be on this list and come off it before the eastern conference final as they can skip the quarantining observation. Really, this is all going to come down to testing and timing to determine who will be out and who will be cleared of the protocols.
Testing and timing
This is all gonna come down to who from this list could get two negative covid tests since Friday’s practice. In order to be available, a player would need to test negative twice in a 48-hour span. So if a player tested negative today before training, they’d need a negative in 24-hours time to be eligible to get off the protocol list and play against NYCFC. The clock is ticking, but at least the Union knows they have until 2 pm EST until a player can be officially ruled out.
We’ll know for sure if these players will be able to play or not when the lineups are announced for the eastern conference final. That is the latest someone can be cleared from MLS’ health and safety protocols. While we know who is in the protocols the day before the game, a whole lot could change baring test results. Let’s hope that some of these players are able to test negative twice and will be a part of the Union’s biggest game in franchise history!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych