MLS announced a change to the Group A qualification procedure for the MLS is Back in Tournament, which kicks off in Orlando on July 8.
The tournament group stages consists of 26 clubs spread across six groups (Groups A-F). Every group is made up of four teams, except for Group A which features a total of six teams.
The league confirmed that the top three teams in Group A – the top half of the group’s finishers – will advance to the knockout rounds. The top two teams of the other groups will also earn automatic berths to the Round of 16. MLS regular season tiebreaking procedures will be used, if necessary.
The next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage based on points total will round out the field of 16 (note that the 4th placed team in Group A will be eligible to advance). Tiebreakers for these three spots will consist of: (1) goal difference, (2) goals scored and (3) fewest disciplinary points, if necessary.
Round of 16 matchups:
July 25: A1 vs. Wildcard B/C/D/E
July 25: A2 vs. C2
July 26: B1 vs. A3
July 26: D1 vs. Wildcard B/C/E/F
July 27: C1 vs. Wildcard A/B/D/F
July 27: B2 vs. F2
July 28: E1 vs. D2
July 28: F1 vs. E2
In addition to regular season points in the group stage, there is also a Concacaf Champions League berth and $1.1 million in prize money on the line.