Who really is the expert? When did the players really contract the coronavirus? That was the main statement I took away in yesterday’s press call from FC Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez.
The Dallas boss was visibly emotional in speaking to the press about his team’s withdrawal from the MLS is Back Tournament, that is set to kickoff tonight with hosts Orlando City taking on their new rivals Inter Miami.
Gonzalez was quick to not place blame on any certain player or situation that led to an outbreak of the coronavirus within his team.
“I can’t point the finger that it was this or that, our market, the plane, the training in Orlando, the bus,” said Gonzalez. “We’re not here to point fingers. I’m not an expert on this. Who is an expert on the coronavirus? Who? It’s a virus that has been around six months. Who is the expert? The expert is the one that knows how this virus is after five years. That’s an expert. We’re all learning.”
Gonzalez spoke for 30 minutes with the media on Tuesday, mostly expressing his frustration with the situation and how right now soccer is not the most important thing to him or his staff.
“Soccer is not my priority”, said Gonzalez. “The priority is family, the players, their recovery and their health — that is No. 1 and that is every inch of my body and every thought in my mind right now, but with time, the game is going to come back as the priority for this club and this team.”
When asked if this tournament was bring held at the right time, Gonzalez was quick to not blame MLS for the decision to hold the tournament in one location, which is currently a new hotbed for the virus in the United States.
“When is the right moment? Maybe the perfect or the safest moment is in two years,” he said. “Maybe that’s the safest moment, but is the league even going to exist in two years? Probably not if we had to wait that long. When is the right moment? I don’t know. I just know that it could have been yesterday and it could be tomorrow, but it had to happen.”
For now, Gonzalez and FC Dallas are working on just taking things one step at a time in getting back to Frisco safely. He mentioned that the players that did test positive since arriving in Orlando, that most are doing quite well and are on the tail end of the virus. But getting out of that period is still going to take some time before he can have his squad back together.
“It’s about little steps. Getting a breath of fresh air eventually. Having a team walk,” Gonzalez said. ”I don’t know if we’ll have a team meal here, I don’t know if it’s safe enough, but one day we’re going to have a team meal. Zoom has helped us stay connected. It’s hard because when you’re in person, there’s energy. I’m a hugger, I haven’t been able to hug any of these players for five months and that hurts me as a leader. But I’m going to hug them in a different way.”