'It was a weird feeling': After positive COVID-19 test, Energy FC coach John Pascarella watches match from quarantine
Instead of pacing up and down the green grass of Toyota Field, Energy FC head coach John Pascarella was forced to pace throughout his apartment Wednesday night.
Pascarella was one of two people within Oklahoma City’s soccer club to test positive for COVID-19, causing him to be quarantined during its match at San Antonio FC on Wednesday.
“It was awkward, it was uncomfortable, a lot of pacing and sitting and standing,” Pascarella said after the match. “It was a weird feeling. You wanted to be there and you wanted to support them, especially after that early goal I wanted to be there with them just to try to lift their spirits and let them know it was gonna be OK and get their heads right back into it.”
The first-year head coach could only watch from quarantine as San Antonio FC trounced Energy FC 4-0. Goalkeepers coach Alexis Vizarelis filled in for Pascarella in his absence.
A defensive mishap from OKC gave SAFC a goal just three minutes in, and it was all downhill from there. A controversial call gave San Antonio a penalty kick in the 14th minute, which Victor Giro converted, and it tacked on two more for the Greens' worst loss of the season.
Pascarella spent most of the time on the phone with assistant coach Leigh Veidman, who was also quarantining at home. Pascarella resisted the urge to dial anyone in San Antonio.
“I wanted to, but I don’t really think it was the time or the place,” Pascarella said. “[Vizarelis] was doing everything he could, he had a good feel for what was going on there — I left the guys alone. I didn’t wanna call or text during the match, so I let them do their thing and focus on what was happening during the moment. But really a very different experience and one I hope I don’t have to experience more than another time — It was a strange and weird one."
Pascarella will miss the Greens' upcoming Saturday bout versus Sporting Kansas City II, but should be able to return back to the field after that with a negative test.
At 1-4-3, Oklahoma City now stands at fourth in the United Soccer League’s Group D with six points. San Antonio leads with 18, followed by FC Tulsa with 10, and the Austin Bold with eight. Rio Grande Valley sits in last place with three.
Six of their eight remaining matches will be on the road, and the Greens will need to finish strong to have a chance at a postseason.
“It will take a little bit of training and it will take a little bit of time, but we have that in front of us over the next five or six weeks,” Pascarella said. “We’re looking forward to it.”