MLS is Back Tournament: Championship on August 11
Superfast tournament designed to bring back the MLS, which was suspended because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Each MLS team will play three group stage matches over the course of 16 consecutive days in Orlando, Florida.
Major League Soccer held the live draw today to determine the group assignments for each of the 26 teams for the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which begins July 8.
The tournament schedule, including specific matchup dates and full broadcast details, will be announced at a later date.
The draw was streamed live at 2:30 PM CT on MLSsoccer.com, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and representatives from each of the six top-seeded teams will participate in the draw to determine the tournament groups.
Each 26 MLS teams will be drawn into one of six groups.
- The Eastern Conference has three groups, one consisting of six teams and two consisting of four teams each.
- The Western Conference has three groups, each consisting of four teams.
As the host club, Orlando City SC has been placed as the top seed in Group A, which will be the six-team group.
In addition, Inter Miami CF will join Orlando in Group A. As part of Major League Soccer’s decision to restart the season in the state of Florida, the inaugural match between Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF will kick off the tournament.
What’s at Stake?
- Regular Season points: Each of the 39 group-stage games will count for points toward the 2020 regular-season standings.
- Concacaf Champions League spot: In a one-time change to MLS berths to the annual Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, the MLS is Back Tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, regardless of whether it is a U.S. or Canadian club. This berth replaces the one traditionally awarded to the regular-season conference leader that did not win the Supporters’ Shield.
- Prize Money: In addition to matches that count in the regular-season standings and competing for bragging rights, the MLS is Back Tournament will give players the opportunity to earn additional bonuses as part of a $1.1 million prize pool.
MLS is BACK Eastern Conference – GROUP A
- Orlando City SC
- Inter Miami CF
- New York City FC
- Philadelphia Union
- Chicago Fire FC
- Nashville SC
MLS is BACK Western Conference – GROUP B
- Seattle Sounders FC
- FC Dallas
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- San Jose Earthquakes
MLS is BACK Eastern Conference – GROUP C
- Toronto FC
- New England Revolution
- Montreal Impact
- D.C. United
MLS is BACK Western Conference – GROUP D
- Real Salt Lake
- Sporting Kansas City
- Colorado Rapids
- Minnesota United FC
MLS is BACK Eastern Conference – GROUP E
- Atlanta United FC
- FC Cincinnati
- New York Red Bulls
- Columbus Crew SC
MLS is BACK Western Conference – GROUP F
- LA Galaxy
- Houston Dynamo
- Portland Timbers FC
MLS is BACK Key Dates
June 24: Teams begin arriving in Florida
July 8: MLS is Back Tournament group stage begins
July 25-28: Round-of-16
July 30- Aug. 1: Quarterfinals
August 5-6: Semifinals
August 11: MLS is Back Tournament Final
MLS IS BACK TOURNAMENT – July 8 – August 11
Format: Group Stage, followed by Round-of-16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals & Final Championship match
Number of Matches: 54 (39 Group; 15 Knockout)
No. of matchdays: 26
Minimum Matches: 3 (per club)
Maximum Matches: 7 (per club)
MLS is BACK: DETAILS ON THE DRAW
The remainder of the Eastern Conference draw threw up a couple rivalry matchups, including a Canadian Classique showdown between Toronto and the Montreal Impact in Group C, where those teams will also face D.C. United and the New England Revolution.
The Hell Is Real derby will also make an appearance in Orlando, as the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati were both drawn into Group E, where they will be joined by two other teams with a little bit of recent bad blood, Atlanta and the New York Red Bulls.
Back in Group A, NYCFC and the Philadelphia Union were the next two additions, bringing some recent playoff experience to the field. They joined Orlando and Miami and were followed by the new-look Chicago Fire and finally by another expansion team, Nashville SC.
In the Western Conference, the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and LAFC were selected to head up Groups A, C, E. It only got better from there, with rivalry matches featuring in each group. The Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps will provide a Cascadia matchup in Group A, while there will also be a rematch of Seattle’s memorable 2019 playoff game against FC Dallas. Matias Almeyda’s San Jose Earthquakes will also join the group, adding another intriguing team to the mix.
Group C will see a Rocky Mountain Cup showdown between RSL and the Colorado Rapids. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also renew hostilities with Sporting KC, one of the league’s best teams through two games in 2020, and another contender, Minnesota United, will round out perhaps one of the most balanced groups of the tournament.
The tastiest matchup, though, might come in Group F, where the LA Galaxy were the first selection in the group after LAFC, meaning El Trafico will also be making an appearance in Orlando. The Houston Dynamo, who have played spoilers for the Galaxy on the final day of the season two years running, were the next team to be drawn into the group, which was rounded out by the Portland Timbers.
MLS is BACK COMPETITION FORMAT
Each team will play three group stage matches, and those results will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.
After 16 consecutive days of group stage matches, the top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage.
The knockout stage will include a Round-of-16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and the Championship match will take place on August 11. Matches tied at the end of regulation in the knockout phase will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.
Click Here for the MLS is Back Tournament Competition Guidelines.
MLS worked with U.S. Soccer, Canada Soccer, and Concacaf to institute a one-time change to MLS berths to the annual Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
The MLS is Back Tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, regardless of whether it is a U.S. or Canadian club.
The winner would replace the berth previously awarded to the MLS regular season points leader in the conference opposite of the 2020 Supporters’ Shield winner.
In addition to matches that count in the regular-season standings and the Champions League berth, players will have the opportunity to earn additional bonuses as part of a $1.1 million prize pool.