MLS is back Tournament launches group stage matchups before start of July 8

Major League Soccer announced details of the schedule and group stage matchups for the MLS is Back Tournament, which will begin in Orlando on July 8. The league also announced a modification to the competition format.

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The league suspended the game in early March after just two rounds of games in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but announced plans on June 10 for all 26 MLS teams to participate in the competition on the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Complex just outside Orlando, Florida. (ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company).

The tournament will consist of a group stage with each team playing three games, followed by a knockout stage. The competition format will still see 16 teams advance to the knockout round, but Group A, which contains six teams, will now have three advance teams instead of the two originally proposed. The top two teams from the remaining five groups will also advance, as will the top three teams outside of the automatic qualification places. The final will be played on August 11.

The opening game on July 8, the Inter Miami pit expansion against host Orlando City in the first Florida derby between the two teams and Nashville SC playing the Chicago Fire afterwards (Watch both games live on ESPN starting at 8 p.m. ET) Matches mark the first of 16 consecutive days of games.

Other notable group games include defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders playing the San Jose Earthquakes on July 10 and LAFC against the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 18.both games will air live on ESPN) The full group stage schedule can be found here.

ESPN will oversee game production services for MLS broadcast partners throughout the tournament, delivering produced broadcasts of all matches to FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports and the league’s international broadcast networks. Each streaming partner will use their own on-air talent to call games and produce their own graphics packages to use during broadcasts.

The San Jose Earthquakes left for Orlando on Wednesday, becoming the first team to arrive, with more teams ready to follow.

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MLS Commissioner Don Garber reveals how the “MLS Tournament is Back” will work.

All group stage matches will count in the regular season standings, with the tournament winner earning a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, regardless of whether it is an American or Canadian club. The winner would replace the place previously awarded to the MLS regular season point leader in the conference opposite the 2020 Supporter Shield winner.

In addition to games that count in the regular season standings and place in the Champions League, players will have the opportunity to earn additional bonuses as part of a $ 1.1 million prize pool. In total, 54 games will be played over four weeks.

Once the MLS Back Tournament ends, MLS plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in local markets, followed by the MLS Cup playoffs and the 25th MLS Cup. Dates have yet to be determined for the playoffs and the MLS Cup, while the final number of games and schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season will be announced in the coming weeks.

In an attempt to maintain the health and safety of players, staff, and other support personnel, MLS, along with the league’s infectious disease experts, has developed a COVID-19 test plan that will be implemented for the entire MLS is Back Tournament. Additionally, MLS will make a contribution of serology (antibody) tests to Central Florida residents beginning June 18.