FC Dallas returned to full team training on Tuesday morning after Luchi Gonzalez stated his intention to do so by the middle of the week. FC Dallas are the 21st team to return to full group activity, little over a week after Sporting Kansas City and Atlanta United became the first teams approved by MLS.
It had been 97 days since the FC Dallas players assembled as a group. Their practice on the morning of March 12 was canceled in what should have been an early training session before traveling to New York City. The news would come down later that day that MLS had been suspended due the COVID-19 outbreak.
Franco Jara wasn’t the only addition as sources say FC Dallas were able to welcome back the player who had tested positive for the Coronavirus. He has since tested negative multiple times and been cleared by both FC Dallas team doctors and Major League Soccer in order to return to team activity. FC Dallas have said that they are not commenting beyond the player’s initial diagnosis.
This third phase includes full team testing for the first time. Players and staff underwent two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests 24 hours apart, over the weekend, and one baseline antibody (serology) test.
They will be tested regularly as part of the league protocol and adhere to many of the social distancing measures that have been seen since returning with individual voluntary workouts on May 11.
“We’ve worked the best we could up to this point and I’m proud,” said FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez. “It’s just another step and we’ve got to take it one day at a time. We’ve got to keep respecting the things that we have to do away from the field with isolation, with quarantine. This is a pandemic that’s evolving and changing every day so we have to also evolve and adapt every day.”
Players are allowed to train as a group with contact, however FC Dallas kept their initial session to non-contact.
“It was a joy to see the guys together even though there was a lot of distancing, which there needs to be,” said Gonzalez. “We’re not at contact yet. We’re not working with contact yet, we’ll get there, but taking steps to do what we love but respect each other’s space and health.”
Teams will begin reporting in Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament from June 24, and can report as late as a week before their first games. Gonzalez said on a conference call last week that he would await the schedule before FC Dallas sets its arrival.