Major League Soccer set to re-start season with World Cup-style tournament
Major League Soccer has taken the next step toward a return to game action, releasing its schedule for the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, which is expected to kick-off on July 8.
MLS suspended its 2020 regular season shortly after it began in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a decision that so many sports leagues around the world were forced to make with the novel coronavirus spreading.
Four months later, MLS has shaped a plan for the remainder of the campaign, which begins with a tournament featuring all 26 clubs n Orlando, even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Florida.
How will the tournament work?
The MLS is Back Tournament will follow a World Cup-style format, with each of the 26 teams being broken up into six groups and playing a Group Stage. Each team will play a minimum of three matches before the knockout stage, or Round of 16, begins.
According to MLS, the top three teams from Group A will advance to the knockout stage, while the top two teams from Groups B, C, D, E, F also move on.
Will the regular season resume after the tournament?
In its official announcement of this tournament, MLS also confirmed that the 2020 regular season will continue once the tournament wraps up in August. Playoffs will follow the regular season, capped off by the MLS Cup Final.
An official schedule for the remainder of the regular season, as well as playoff and MLS Cup Final dates, has yet to be announced.
Florida rivals will kick-start tournament
Orlando City SC and Inter Miami CF will start the MLS comeback with the first match of the tournament on July 8. That will be the first-half of a double-header that day, with the action capped off with a match between Nashville SC and Chicago Fire.
Those will also be the first two matches for Group A, which features six teams, while the remaining groups each have four teams.