Chicago Sun-Times

Wicky has faith MLS will keep Fire safe

- Twit­ter: @Bri­anSan­dalow BRIAN SANDALOW FIRE BEAT Sports · Major League Soccer · Soccer · Orlando · Nashville · South Carolina · Nashville SC

Two weeks ago, as the number of pos­i­tive coro­n­avirus cases was in­creas­ing in Florida, Fire coach Raphael Wicky stressed that he trusts Ma­jor League Soc­cer to keep ev­ery­body safe dur­ing the up­com­ing MLS is Back Tour­na­ment in Orlando.

On Tues­day, with the Fire one day away from de­part­ing for Florida, Wicky re­it­er­ated his faith in MLS. But that doesn’t mean he’s un­aware of what’s hap­pen­ing.

“I have to be hon­est; we have not spo­ken with the team about this,” Wicky said. “We ob­vi­ously fol­low the news, we read news­pa­pers, in­ter­net and we know that the cases are quite high in Florida, but like I al­ready men­tioned last time, we trust the league. We have agreed to this tour­na­ment. We’re ex­cited to go to this tour­na­ment, but from the be­gin­ning we all said we trust that the league wants ev­ery­one to be safe and will keep ev­ery­one safe.”

The Fire are sched­uled to re­sume their sea­son July 8 with a match against Nashville

SC. They’ve been prac­tic­ing as a group for more than two weeks.

Any coro­n­avirus-re­lated de­vel­op­ments in Florida, though, will be part of the back­drop. Wicky isn’t fo­cused on it be­cause it’s out of the team’s con­trol.

“We ob­vi­ously some­times speak with the staff, but again, even when we speak with the staff, we just talk about, ‘Have you seen yes­ter­day there was a new peak in Florida?’ ” Wicky said. “But we don’t then go more into fur­ther dis­cus­sions be­cause it doesn’t really make sense. It’s out of our con­trol right now, and we trust the league. I think that was clear from the be­gin­ning. Ev­ery­one wants to be safe, and that’s the most im­por­tant thing.”

Be­fore most tour­na­ments or sea­sons, a key part of train­ing is get­ting play­ers healthy and in shape. That is still a pri­or­ity now, and it could be even more chal­leng­ing be­cause of the long lay­off.

These days, though, there are other goals: avoid­ing COVID-19 and plan­ning for con­tin­gen­cies if some­one tests pos­i­tive. So far, the Fire have been safe.

Wicky said the Fire have had no cases, at­tribut­ing that to be­ing “very, very lucky and dis­ci­plined.”

“We hope that it stays that way,” Wicky said. “And we will fol­low the pro­to­cols should a per­son [test] pos­i­tive, which we really hope will not be the case.”

 ?? FIRE ?? The Fire are set to leave for Florida, where coro­n­avirus cases are trending in the wrong di­rec­tion.
FIRE The Fire are set to leave for Florida, where coro­n­avirus cases are trending in the wrong di­rec­tion.
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