FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez says his squad is staying upbeat in the face of the positive COVID-19 tests that have impacted the club.
Gonzalez made his regular weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas from his hotel room in Orlando, where he is in quarantine and maintaining an optimistic attitude.
“Obviously the news is out there. We’ve got nothing to hide. I won’t get into names or details of the numbers. But we’ve got some challenges here,” Gonzalez said. “So it’s been a challenge — it’s been disappointing. But at the same time it’s also been inspiring because our group has shown a lot of strength and the attitudes and the mentalities of our players and our staff has been amazing.
“We’re just trying to react to the next moment and believe that we’re going to push through and be better after this. But yeah, we’ve got some challenges and the world has got challenges. But we’re going to not play victims to this and not make excuses. We’re going to keep finding solutions and learn from it and get guys recovered and healthy, which is No. 1.”
On July 1, the club and the league disclosed that six FC Dallas players had tested positive for COVID-19, including two immediately upon arrival at the hotel. Those six players were moved to an isolation area and the rest of the FC Dallas delegation is quarantining in their hotel rooms, following MLS health and safety protocols.
“It’s been a tough few days. I haven’t left my room. I’ve been inside this hotel room for almost three days and it’s a lot of isolation and you get to reflect and the first thing is to own it — to own this moment,” said Gonzalez, who confirmed to the radio show hosts that he has not tested positive.
“We’re excited to be a part of this event and in a strange way we still are. We have the belief we’re going to get through this. Obviously, the secondary thought is the actual competition and the primary is the recovery of our people and their families. But it is frustrating. At the same time you can’t control what’s already happened. We’ve just got to keep learning and doing the best we can to be better in what’s in front of us.”
Gonzalez mentioned that the squad continues to stay in touch via Zoom calls and “the attitudes and some of the feedback they’re giving each other is amazing.”
With the club and league focused on the health and recovery of the squad, the impact of the positive test results on the competition is still to be determined. FC Dallas are currently scheduled to play their Group B opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday, July 9.
“The match is secondary. I don’t know if it’ll maintain its current fixture date. I don’t know if it’ll get postponed. I don’t know if we’ll continue in the event,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to work together with the league to do what’s best for the players’ safety and health. So No. 1 priority right now at FC Dallas is to get these guys recovered and get everybody healthy and back with their families eventually. If that means that somehow we can compete, I’m open to listening to how, but it needs to be with the No. 1 priority of getting our guys recovered.
“Right now we have a roster that can still mathematically compete. But again, there are tests every day and we’re going to see if there are more positives. I don’t know what tomorrow brings or the day after. All I know is that today the event is still on. Like I told you, this is not my concern No. 1. It’s the players’ safety and wellbeing which I know the league is also supporting us in.”