What to know about the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This first appeared on AMNY.com

Major League Soccer is poised to reach new heights in popularity as its MLS is Back tournament begins. 

Originally, all 26 teams were invited to the summer tournament — which provided a World-Cup-like feel coupled with regular-season implications. 

The teams were split up into six groups — one of six teams and five of four squads. However, Group B has been decreased to three teams after FC Dallas was forced to withdraw from the tournament after nine players and one staff member tested positive for coronavirus. 

The groups are as follows along with their schedules:

Group A

  • Orlando City SC
  • Inter Miami CF
  • NYCFC
  • Philadelphia Union
  • Chicago Fire
  • Nashville SC

Group A Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • July 8: Orlando City vs. Inter Miami, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • July 8: Chicago vs. Nashville SC (POSTPONED)
  • July 9: NYCFC vs. Philadelphia, 9 a.m., ESPN
  • July 14: Inter Miami vs. Chicago, 9 a.m., ESPN
  • July 14: Philadelphia vs. Nashville, 8 p.m., Twitter
  • July 14: Orlando City vs. NYCFC, 10:30 p.m., Twitter
  • July 19: NYCFC vs. Chicago, 8 p.m., FS1
  • July 19: Philadelphia vs. Inter Miami, 10:30 p.m., FS1
  • July 20: Orlando City vs. Nashville, 9 a.m., ESPN

Group B

  • Seattle Sounders
  • Vancouver Whitecaps
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • FC Dallas (OUT OF TOURNAMENT)

Group B Schedule

  • July 10: Seattle vs. San Jose, 9 p.m., ESPN
  • July 15: Vancouver vs. San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Twitter
  • July 20: Seattle vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Twitter

Group C

  • Toronto FC
  • New England Revolution
  • Montreal Impact
  • DC United

Group C Schedule

  • July 9: Montreal vs. New England, 8 p.m., Twitter
  • July 12: Toronto vs. DC United, 9 a.m., ESPN2
  • July 15: Montreal vs. Toronto, 8 p.m., Twitter
  • July 16: DC United vs. New England, 8 p.m., FS1
  • July 21: Toronto vs. New England, 9 a.m., ESPN
  • July 21: Montreal vs. DC United, 10:30 p.m., Twitter

Group D

  • Real Salt Lake
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • Colorado Rapids
  • Minnesota United

Group D Schedule

  • July 12: Sporting KC vs. Minnesota, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • July 12: Salt Lake vs. Colorado, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
  • July 17: Sporting KC vs. Colorado, 8 p.m., ESPN
  • July 17: Salt Lake vs. Minnesota, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
  • July 22: Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC, 9 a.m., ESPN
  • July 22: Colorado vs. Minnesota, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

Group E

  • Atlanta United
  • FC Cincinnati
  • New York Red Bulls
  • Columbus Crew

Group E Schedule

  • July 11: Atlanta vs. RBNY, 8 p.m., FOX
  • July 11: Cincinnati vs. Columbus, 10:30 p.m., FS1
  • July 16: Atlanta vs. Cincinnati, 9 a.m., ESPN
  • July 16: Columbus vs. RBNY, 10:30 p.m., FS1
  • July 21: Atlanta vs. Columbus, 8 p.m., Twitter
  • July 22: Cincinnati vs. RBNY, 8 p.m., ESPN

Group F

  • Los Angeles FC
  • LA Galaxy
  • Houston Dynamo
  • Portland Timbers

Group F Schedule

  • July 13: LAFC vs. Houston, 8 p.m., FS1
  • July 13: LA Galaxy vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., FS1
  • July 18: Portland vs. Houston, 8 p.m., ESPN2
  • July 18: LAFC vs. LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
  • July 23: LA Galaxy vs. Houston, 8 p.m., FS1
  • July 23: LAFC vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., ESPN2

The top three teams in Group A and the top two teams in Groups B, C, D, E, F gain automatic entry into the knockout round. The next three highest-ranked teams in the group stage based on points total will also advance.

Each group game will also have regular-season implications that will count toward the standings, which is MLS’ traditional format that began back in March. The league was able to complete two weeks before it was forced to stop play. 

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