Major League Soccer

Nashville-FC Dallas Preview

After COVID-19 kept FC Dallas and Nashville SC from taking part in the MLS is Back Tournament, both are finally ready to return to the pitch.

That happens on Wednesday night in suburban Dallas, apparently with supporters in the stands, as Dallas and Nashville resume their seasons in the first of two meetings this week.

Several positive coronavirus tests among both of these clubs kept Dallas and Nashville from being included in the league's return-to-action tournament near Orlando, Fla. However, when MLS announced things went well enough at the event within the confines of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to then resume the regular season in home stadiums, FCD (1-0-1) and expansion Nashville (0-2-0) were the first teams slated to play.

These clubs will play again, also at FCD, on Sunday.

"We're excited to represent the club again at a professional level and play here at home - doing what we love to do," coach Luchi Gonzalez told FC Dallas' official website. "Especially after the experience we had in Orlando, we're very motivated to get back on the field.

"(Nashville is) a good team. Obviously, they're new in the league."

And, in a somewhat curious decision, fans will be allowed to attend MLS matches in person in markets that believe it is safe to do so. Texas recently had one of the biggest COVID-19 surges in the country, yet a maximum of 5,110 supporters can attend Wednesday's contest. Face masks will be required and seating inside Toyota Stadium is expected to be distanced.

"It's not an easy environment or position to be in," Nashville coach Gary Smith told his club's official website. "But, it's one that we all understand and realize, that if we're going to get any full success or enjoyment out of the season, then we've got to get ready again (to play)."

Nashville returns to the pitch trying for the club's first MLS win after losing 2-1 to Atlanta United FC and 1-0 to Portland before league play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in early March. Dallas, meanwhile, opened with a 2-0 victory over Philadelphia and played Montreal to a 2-2 draw.

Zdenek Ondrasek has scored half of Dallas' four goals. Former Los Angeles FC defender Walker Zimmerman recorded the lone goal to date for Nashville.

"Given some of the work we've already done, it reemphasizes what we want to look like, how we want to approach games, and that confidence within the group that they can deal with most situations in a game," Smith added.

"It's not an ideal world, but not much in the last five months has been ideal for anyone."

Updated August 10, 2020

@STATS_Football