Soccer

FC Dallas withdraws from MLS is Back tournament after 10 positive COVID-19 tests

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FC Dallas withdraws from MLS is Back tournament after 10 positive COVID-19 tests

FC Dallas has withdrawn from the MLS is Back tournament in Florida after 10 players tested positive for coronavirus.

The league said Monday that of the 557 players sequestered at a pair of Walt Disney World hotels, 13 have tested positive: 10 from Dallas, two from Nashville and one from Columbus. Additionally, a Dallas coach also tested positive.

“The decision to have them not participate in the tournament is in the best interests of everyone, of the Dallas players and the other 25 teams, and allows us to continue to manage the health and safety of our players while continuing to go forward with our plan,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday.

Apart from the health and safety aspect, the number of positive cases also meant that Dallas could not play competitive games.

“As we continue to focus on the well-being of our players, coaches and staff who are in isolation in Orlando, we understand it is not in their best interests to compete at this time,” coach Luchi Gonzalez said in a statement. “While we’re disappointed, the health and safety of our traveling delegation as well as our league partners is our highest priority.”

FC Dallas announced last week that six players had tested positive upon arrival in Florida for the tournament, and the entire team was quarantined. As a result, the team’s opening match on Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps was postponed.

RELATED: WHEN ARE SPORTS RETURNING FROM CORONAVIRUS

With Dallas' withdrawal, Major League Soccer was devising a new schedule for the monthlong tournament, to be played without fans at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.

The tournament is still set to open Wednesday with a nationally televised match between Orlando City and expansion Inter Miami.

Also on Monday, LAFC forward Carlos Vela opted out of the tournament out of concerns for his wife, who is expecting their second child.

“I always want to give everything I have to my club, our fans and supporters and the city of L.A.,” Vela said in a statement. “However, it is in the best interest of the health of my family to stay home and be with my wife during what is a risky pregnancy."

MLS shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 after teams had each played two games.

Garber vowed to stop the tournament if warranted.

“If there is a situation at any time that I believe that the protocols aren't working, and the health and safety of our players is at risk, then I will make the decision to shut down the tournament," Garber said. "That is something I committed to the players and to our entire league early on. But this is proving that our protocols worked and our plan so far has been sound.”

FC Dallas previously revealed that all players and staff tested negative for the coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on June 27. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Subsequent tests found four more players infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

“We absolutely agree with the league’s decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament out of safety concerns for our players and staff,” FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said. “We’re looking forward to resuming the 2020 season once the entire club is healthy and in position to play competitive matches at the highest level.”

The league said no other team was in contact with the FC Dallas delegation. League protocol requires players and staff to be tested every two days upon arrival in Florida.

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Christian Pulisic continues to shine for Chelsea early in FA Cup Final, leaves match with injury

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Since the resumption of soccer in England, USNMT star and Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic has been among the best in the sport. He continued that on Saturday, wasting no time giving his team the lead in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal.

Pulisic netted a goal just five minutes into the match.

The FA Cup is a knockout-style tournament that pits the best British soccer teams against one another. Pulisic's goal not only gave Chelsea an early advantage, but put him in the history books as he became the first U.S International player to score in the final.

Pulisic's brilliance on Saturday is just the latest impressive performance by the 21-year old. His effort since the Premier League returned helped Chelsea finish in the top four of the league.

Unfortunately for Pulisic and Chelsea, he did not get the opportunity to further leave his mark on the FA Cup Final and he exited in the 48th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Though he had to leave the contest early, Pulisic once again proved that he is an emerging star both nationally and internationally.

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USMNT star Christian Pulisic dazzles once again, but Chelsea falls to Liverpool

USMNT star Christian Pulisic dazzles once again, but Chelsea falls to Liverpool

Since the Premier League resumed its season last month, few players have been better than Chelsea winger and United States Men's National Team star Christian Pulisic.

On Wednesday, Pulisic put his fine form on display once again, immediately wreaking havoc when he came on for the Blues in the 59th minute.

With Chelsea trailing 4-1 to Premier League Champion Liverpool, Pulisic immediately impacted the scoreline two minutes after his entrance on the pitch. The 21-year-old took a pass on the left-wing, then proceeded to dribble past four Liverpool defenders before assisting Tammy Abraham for Chelsea's second goal.

Just over 10 minutes later, Pulisic found himself with another scoring chance opportunity. After two Liverpool defenders collided with one another, Chelsea found themselves on the attack with a man advantage.

The American took a cross from Callum Hudson-Odoi, perfectly played it to his right foot and fired a strike past Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson to trim the lead to 4-3 in the 73rd minute.

However, any chance Chelsea had of evening the scoreline and earn the point they needed to clinch a Champions League spot vanished when Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored in the 87th minute to seal Liverpool's victory.

After the match, Pulisic said that he felt the momentum was on Chelsea's side late in the second half before Liverpool netted the game-sealing goal late.

“We were very close, we got it within one goal and the momentum was really changing,” Pulisic said, to Sky Sports, via NBC Sports' Pro Soccer Talk. “I thought we had them but obviously it is just that one counter-attack and it changed real quick. We weren’t quite there."

With one game remaining, Chelsea can clinch a top-four Premier League finish and a spot in next season's Champions League on Sunday with a victory over Wolves.

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