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.
Sources: In a bid to have players on international duty return in time for the #MLSCup playoffs, #MLS is taking the unusual step of using charter flights to speed their return to the U.S., and thus avoid quarantine periods: https://t.co/OijN0oM50q— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 17, 2020
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.
Because its thought to be a much more controlled environment than traveling on a regular commercial flight, which includes interacting w/the public in terminals. It is also based on the idea that players are in controlled environments when with their teams, including testing.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) November 17, 2020
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.