ORLANDO, Fla. (June 11, 2020) - Orlando City SC will face intrastate foe Inter Miami CF in the opening game of the MLS is Back Tournament, it was announced today. As the host club, Orlando City have been seeded atop Group A, set to face off in the tournament opener on Wednesday, July 8 at ESPN Wide World of Sports. That match will see the Lions square off for the first time against the 2020 MLS expansion side, as part of Major League Soccer’s decision to restart the season in the state of Florida.
In addition, Major League Soccer will today hold a live draw to determine the group assignments for each of the 26 teams in advance of the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning July 8. The tournament schedule, including specific matchup dates and full broadcast details, will be announced at a later date.
The draw will be streamed live at 3:30 p.m. ET 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.
The 26 MLS teams will be drawn into one of six groups. The Eastern Conference will have three groups, one consisting of six teams and two consisting of four teams each. The Western Conference will have three groups, each consisting of four teams.
The following three matchups will be set for the six teams drawn in Group A:
- Team A1 (Orlando City): A2, A3, A6
- Team A2 (Inter Miami): A1, A4, A5
- Team A3: A1, A4, A5
- Team A4: A2, A3, A6
- Team A5: A2, A3, A6
- Team A6: A1, A4, A5
The five remaining seeds will consist of the four semifinalists from the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs – Atlanta United, Los Angeles Football Club, Seattle Sounders FC, Toronto FC – and Real Salt Lake (the team with the next highest points total in the Western Conference from the 2019 season). The seeded teams will be drawn into their respective groups first and then the remaining 20 clubs will be drawn and distributed across the conference-based groups.
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.
June 11: MLS is Back Tournament Draw (MLSsoccer.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – 3:30 p.m. ET)
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
Number of Matches: 54 (39 group; 15 knockout)
No. of matchdays: 26
Format: Group Stage, followed by Round-of-16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals & Championship match
Minimum Matches: 3 (per club)
Maximum Matches: 7 (per club)