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Several Whitecaps players opt out of MLS is Back

Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, Georges Mukumbilwa, Tosaint Ricketts and Andy Rose will all miss tournament.

MLS: Preseason-Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Portland Timbers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The entire Sounders roster traveled to Florida and has been cleared to participate in team activities, Sounder at Heart has confirmed.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have now arrived in Florida, but without several key contributors. The club announced on Tuesday that Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, Georges Mukumbilwa, Tosaint Ricketts and Andy Rose have all opted out of the MLS is Back Tournament for a variety of personal and medical reasons. The Sounders are scheduled to play the Whitecaps on July 20 in their final group stage game. As of now, that’s one of only two games the Sounders have scheduled after FC Dallas was removed from the tournament, leaving Group B with just three teams.

Cavallini is probably the most notable absence, as he was Vancouver’s big offseason acquisition on a reported transfer fee of $6 million. The 27-year-old Canadian international had spent the previous three seasons in Liga MX with Puebla, where he had 28 goals and nine assists in 81 appearances.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for me,” Cavallini wrote in a statement. “I would love to be out on the field with my teammates fighting with everything I have to play for this club and community in Orlando. Unfortunately COVID-19 has had a very big impact, taking away two beloved members of my family. I feel that it is best that I remain home to support my loved ones at this challenging time.”

Also notable among the group of absences were former Sounders Fredy Montero and Andy Rose. Montero indicated his decision to not play was mostly personal. Rose’s decision was also personal, although tied to the impending birth of a child.

“I’m sorry to say that I’ve unfortunately had to pull out of the tournament,” Rose wrote in a statement. “My wife is due to give birth on July 17 and my original plan was to be with the team in Florida for our first and possibly second game. However, the sacrifice of potentially missing my daughter’s birth and the risk of infection travelling home meant it didn’t make sense to go. I’d love to be there with my team and will be supporting the guys throughout the tournament.”

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