Speaking to the media prior to Atlanta United's match Thursday (9 am ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN Canada) against FC Cincinnati, midfielder Emerson Hyndman revealed he was one of two players at the club to have tested positive for COVID-19 when the team was still in Georgia preparing for the MLS is Back Tournament.
Hyndman was isolated while he was testing positive, in accordance with the MLS in-market training protocols. He said the break from training ultimately led to him being slightly leggier than he might have otherwise been during Atlanta's tournament-opening defeat to the New York Red Bulls.
"I'm playing catch-up a little bit, so during the game it was obviously quite tough for me physically," said Hyndman of his 56-minute shift. "So I couldn't be quite as box to box as I normally would."
Atlanta announced on June 18 and 19 that two players on their squad had tested positive for the virus. Both were asymptomatic at the time of their cases being confirmed.
"I was asymptomatic the whole time," Hyndman said, "but obviously the testing picked it up, which is credit to all the testing protocols we had to go through. It was obviously frustrating being away from the team and being like that, but it was necessary and I knew that."
Hyndman said he didn't know how he contracted the virus and that upon testing positive, he followed all instructions from club health professionals. His teammate, defender Franco Escobar, said the two tests were not a major cause for alarm.
"I was never scared because I was doing everything I could to follow all the safety measures, and the club does a really good job at training with all the procedures, so we were doing everything that we could."
Said Hyndman: "Pretty much the whole team from what I know has kept a pretty simple life since all this started. Grocery stores and basically home, training ground and things like that. It could've been anything. I could've walked by someone and just ended up getting it. It's just one of those things.
"But the good thing is at the training ground it's all very protocol-driven. Mask in, mask out, and not even allowed at the building at the beginning stages of it. I was confident and the whole club was confident that the training ground was a safe place."