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REPORT: MLS to charter players back from international duty

NYCFC could see return of Alex Callens ahead of playoffs due to new development

SOCCER: SEP 19 MLS - New York City FC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Once it was announced that Alexander Callens was heading off for international duty for Peru, reactions were pretty divided. On one hand, we love to see our own get picked to represent their countries in key World Cup qualifiers. But on the other, New York City FC are heading into playoff season. And due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine rules would’ve most certainly kept Callens from lining up against Orlando City next week in NYCFC’s first 2020 playoff matchup.

But things could be changing. In a recent report from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, MLS is attempting to charter their players back to the United States in order to prevent them from having to go into a prolonged quarantine once they return to the country.

From what Carlisle says, MLS can most likely pull it off due to players out on international duty already being in “controlled environments” where they are tested daily. And chartering a flight back ensures that players won’t need to go to public airports where they will be at risk for exposure to COVID-19.

I’m all for this if it means that Callens can return to City in time for the playoffs. Sebastien Ibeagha is a really good player, but Callens is the iron man. And for most of the year, his partnership with Maxime Chanot in the middle — in addition to Anton Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita on the outside — has been one of MLS’s best defensive units all year.