Two days before the club’s biggest match in half a decade, another player tested positive for COVID-19 and the Crew revealed it will be without two of its top players.
The Crew announced in a statement that a second player has been confirmed positive for COVID-19 this week, and midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos will miss MLS Cup on Saturday against the Seattle Sounders.
In a testing update released Thursday night by the club, the Crew said one additional player returned a confirmed positive test after one player was confirmed positive on Tuesday. No other players or staff members tested positive.
“The health and safety of all players and staff remains the highest priority for the club and Crew SC has been in regular communication with Major League Soccer and local health authorities on the matter,” the club statement said.
Nagbe and Santos were listed as “medically not cleared to play” on the injury report released Thursday night, a designation created specifically for this season due to potential coronavirus cases that made players unavailable.
Nagbe and Santos have no known injuries. The club does not disclose the identity of the players who tested positive.
Despite the additional positive case, the Crew said in its statement that it will train on Friday ahead of Saturday’s final against Seattle. Major League Soccer has not said anything publicly on the recent positive tests.
MLS does not require teams to disclose positive cases.
Nagbe was scratched from Thursday’s media availability, but was later rescheduled to talk Friday along with coach Caleb Porter. Given he’s now in quarantine, that schedule could change again.
The Crew announced Tuesday that one player had tested positive for COVID-19, but the team has not limited its training this week in preparation for MLS Cup. Every other player was in training on Wednesday, which includes the player who was announced as a confirmed positive Thursday.
Nagbe and Santos are two of the most important players on the Crew. Nagbe’s efficient passing and ability to keep possession under pressure makes him one of the best midfielders in MLS.
Santos was tied for second-leading scorer during the regular season and has scored two goals during the playoffs.
To date, 10 players — 33% of the roster — on the Crew have tested positive for the novel coronavirus this postseason alone. In total, the club has had 11 players contract the virus. One player tested positive for COVID-19 back in July before the start of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Seven players tested positive for COVID-19 before the conference semifinal game against Nashville and an eighth player tested positive prior to the conference final against New England Revolution.
All eight of those players have since recovered and are not listed as “medically not cleared to play.”
Between the eighth player who had tested positive and the confirmed positive test on Monday, the Crew had five days without any positive tests.
The Crew has another round of testing on Friday