Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuaín and Leandro González Pirez will not play in Friday night’s MLS Cup playoff game against Nashville SC due to positive tests for COVID-19, a source confirmed to ESPN.
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Higuain’s brother, Federico, is one of five Miami players who tested positive since early November, and he will not play either. A source with knowledge of the situation said the last positive test from a Miami player came in the most recent testing period on Sunday / Monday.
League sources said the game is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.
The Miami Herald was the first to report the news.
The loss of Gonzalo Higuaín and González Pirez is a massive blow for a Miami team that didn’t make it to the 10th and final place in the Eastern Conference playoffs until the final day of the regular season. González Pirez’s absence in particular will be felt, given that he is the leader of Miami’s defense. The long experience of Higuaín, a former Argentine international who has played for players like Real Madrid and Juventus, will also be missed.
Earlier this week, sources told ESPN that if a team could not play due to a COVID-19 outbreak and if the game could not be rescheduled, that team would have to resign.
A source with knowledge of the situation said that after consulting with its medical experts, MLS determined that since at least four days had passed since Miami’s last positive test, the game could go ahead.