Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Columbus prepares for Nashville SC amid COVID-19 concerns

Field Level Media
29 Nov 2020, 08:55 GMT+10

There has been uncertainty surrounding the Eastern Conference semifinal in Columbus on Sunday between the third-seeded Crew and No. 7 Nashville SC.

Six unidentified Crew players tested positive for COVID-19 during the week, but the team trained Saturday and the game, for now, will be played as scheduled.

"We feel like this virus is contained within our team and we feel that way based on the experts and the league advice," Crew coach Caleb Porter said Saturday.

The match at Mapfre Stadium could be postponed to as late as Wednesday, if necessary. In an extreme case, the Crew would forfeit the match if it could not be rescheduled.

"It would be brutally unfair to the Crew if this game doesn't take place, but that's how we have to live in this moment," Nashville coach Gary Smith said Friday. "We're trying to do our very utmost. It's the only thing we control."

Nashville knows what the Crew is going through after being forced to pull out of the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando in July with its own COVID-19 outbreak.

That seems ages ago after Nashville, an expansion team, upset No. 2 Toronto FC 1-0 in extra time on Tuesday. The win, coupled with No. 1 seed Philadelphia's loss to New England, has opened the door for the Crew to host Sunday, as well as the conference final, if they beat Nashville, which is 7-2-5 in the past 14 games.

The Crew are 10-1-0 at home this season compared with 0-5-5 on the road.

"We've been winning at home and we're not giving up set piece goals," Porter said. "We're managing games late very well. We're scoring enough goals and creating enough chances. We're not giving up a ton of goals and we're not giving up a ton of chances."

The winner plays either Orlando City or New England in the conference final on Dec. 6.

--Field Level Media

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