Major League Soccer returns with all 26 MLS clubs competing in the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning July 8. Group stage matches will count in the MLS regular season standings and the tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
Group assignments for each of the 26 teams were determined through a live draw on June 11, with Minnesota United being drawn into Group D alongside Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids. The tournament schedule, including specific matchup dates and full broadcast details, will be announced at a later date.
- Orlando City
- Inter Miami
- Philadelphia Union
- Chicago Fire
- Seattle Sounders
- FC Dallas
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- SJ Earthquakes
- Toronto FC
- NE Revolution
- Montreal Impact
- D.C. United
- Real Salt Lake
- Sporting KC
- Colorado Rapids
- Atlanta United
- Columbus Crew
- LA Galaxy
- Houston Dynamo
- Portland Timbers
Clubs will begin arriving in Orlando as early as June 24 for preseason training. Clubs that can conduct full team training in their markets pursuant to the league’s medical and testing protocols must arrive no later than seven days before their first match.
Similar to a FIFA World Cup format, the tournament will feature a continuous schedule of matches nearly every day, with games beginning at 8 a.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. CDT. The vast majority of the matches will be played in the evening. 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 knock-out 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.
The substitution limit for the tournament will follow the new protocol set by the IFAB and allow five substitutions per match. In addition, teams may name up to 23 players on each official match day roster. Also, the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) will have access to video review for all games.
Upon completion of the MLS is Back Tournament, MLS plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in home markets, followed by the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and the 25th MLS Cup. The schedule will be developed at a later date. The final number of matches and the schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season will be announced in the coming weeks.
The MLS medical department and the league’s infectious disease experts have developed a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan which will be implemented for the entire MLS is Back Tournament. An overview of health, safety and medical protocols can be found HERE. In addition, MLS will make a contribution of serology (antibody) tests to Central Florida residents beginning June 18.
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: Three (per club)
Maximum Matches: Seven (per club)