People were excited about the news of Major League Soccer (MLS) returning. They announced the idea of doing a tournament in Orlando to resume play. The MLS Back Tournament will kick off on July 8.
All 26 MLS teams will be participating in the tournament. Also, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort will host the tournament.
“The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber.
Starting on June 24, teams can go to Orlando. Some teams may arrive later to fit in as much training on their home fields as possible. However, teams must arrive at least seven days before their first match.
The Back Tournament will involve an initial group stage consisting of three games and a knock out round. The teams will be divided into six different groups. Each will have the top two teams in each group, plus the four best third-place finishers qualifying for the round of 16.
With this schedule, the finals will take place on Aug. 11.
Nashville SC will move to the Eastern Conference for the tournament. The Eastern Conference will have three groups, two consisting of four teams each and one consisting of six teams. The Western Conference will have three groups, each having four teams.
Orlando City SC will be the top seed in Group A for being the host city.
All of the group stages will take into account the regular-season standings. The winner of the tournament will get a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. The players can gain bonuses through the $1.1m prize pool.
After the tournament finishes, MLS wants to resume the regular season.
The league is working with Florida health officials to follow the pandemic health guidelines. MLS will also be contributing to serology (antibody) tests for central Florida residents starting on June 18.
It will be interesting to see what team will win the MLS Back Tournament.