Born­stein feel­ing safe in bub­ble

Fire de­fender says team tak­ing all pre­cau­tions to guard against coro­n­avirus in mls tour­ney

Chicago Sun-Times - - FIRE BEAT - BY BRIAN SANDALOW | @bri­ansan­dalow

Fire de­fender Jonathan Born­stein only can speak for him­self and the team­mates he has chat­ted with, so he didn’t want to gen­er­al­ize about how ev­ery­body is feel­ing in­side the MLS bub­ble in Or­lando, Florida.

On Wed­nes­day, how­ever, Born­stein was clear about how he’s do­ing. And he was any­thing but obliv­i­ous to what some ob­servers have said about the setup.

‘‘I feel safe,’’ Born­stein said. ‘‘I know there is con­cern about if all of the pro­to­cols are work­ing, where the play­ers who tested pos­i­tive . . . where did they orig­i­nally get the virus? There’s a lot of un­knowns out there. But I feel like as long as my­self and my team­mates and the en­tire Chicago or­ga­ni­za­tion con­tinue to do what we’ve been do­ing and fol­low the pro­to­cols, I think there’s no rea­son we should be in fear of con­tract­ing the virus. We’ve just got to keep do­ing what we’re do­ing to stay safe.’’

The ques­tions about the safety of the MLS is Back tour­na­ment have been there since the event was an­nounced and grew more press­ing as COVID-19 con­tin­ued to surge in many ar­eas of the coun­try. FC Dal­las with­drew from the tour­na­ment af­ter 10 play­ers and one staff mem­ber tested pos­i­tive, and the Fire’s open­ing game Wed­nes­day was post­poned be­cause of an out­break on sched­uled op­po­nent Nashville SC, which with­drew from the event Thurs­day.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, you can only con­trol so much, and we’ve been do­ing that as best as we can in terms of train­ing, in terms of stay­ing safe,’’ Born­stein said. ‘‘When you get a game ei­ther post­poned or taken away from you, it’s be­cause there’s out­side cir­cum­stances that you re­ally just have to kind of roll with.’’

Once his dis­ap­point­ment about the post­pone­ment passed, Born­stein looked at the pos­i­tives. He rec­og­nized how it al­lowed the Fire to sched­ule a friendly with Min­nesota United and pro­vided them with a lit­tle more time to pre­pare for their tour­na­ment opener Tues­day against the Seat­tle Sounders.

Though the friendly lasted a half be­fore be­ing washed out, it was also a mile­stone for the Fire. It was their first time see­ing an op­po­nent since March 7, and it was their first time on the field against an­other team since the coro­n­avirus shut­down.

Born­stein said the lat­ter wasn’t on his mind dur­ing the scrim­mage. He said he knows the Fire have been proac­tive with all pro­to­cols and thinks Min­nesota is do­ing the same.

‘‘Step­ping on the field, it didn’t cross my mind even once about the sit­u­a­tion go­ing on around us,’’ Born­stein said. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously, I think teams like Nashville and teams like Dal­las, I re­ally feel for them be­cause they want to be here com­pet­ing. That’s their job, and I re­ally feel for what they’re go­ing through. Some­times the sit­u­a­tion is out of our hands, but in terms of this [friendly], I can hon­estly say that it was com­pletely out of my mind.’’ ✶

Jonathan Born­stein CHICAGO FIRE FC

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