Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps leave for MLS tournament in Florida

Toronto FC players take part in a training session. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps finally left for Florida on Monday after delays related to COVID-19.

Vancouver was originally slated to depart last Wednesday, while Toronto was scheduled to take off last Friday for the MLS is Back Tournament in the Orlando area.

The Whitecaps had to delay their flight south because of a pair of inconclusive test results. That prompted more testing, which subsequently came back negative.

Toronto pushed its departure to Saturday, citing the need for more time to complete pre-travel coronavirus testing. The club had to postpone again after a member of its travelling party reported “experiencing symptoms,” requiring another round of testing.

The Montreal Impact arrived in Florida last Thursday.

The Colorado Rapids, originally due to leave Sunday, delayed their departure to Tuesday after a pair of “presumptive positive” COVID-19 results in its travelling party.

The World Cup-style tournament, which starts Wednesday and wraps up Aug. 11, is taking place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.

Vancouver was due to kick off Thursday against FC Dallas but the match was pushed back after the Whitecaps’ delayed departure and six positive tests among Dallas players. The Whitecaps will now open July 15 against San Jose.

The Impact play the New England Revolution on Thursday. Toronto is slated to open Friday against D.C. United.

MLS has been in hiatus since March 12 when the global pandemic halted play two weeks into the season.

Each of the 26 teams will play thee group games at the Florida tournament that will count in the regular-season standings. Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout stage of the 54-match tournament.

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