Major League Soccer is set to return to play at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex next month. Today, the league announced schedule details and group-stage matchups for the upcoming tournament, according to ESPN.
- As previously announced, Major League Soccer will restart the 2020 season on July 8th with all 26 clubs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
- Today, the league announced that the opening match on July 8 pits expansion Inter Miami against hosts Orlando City in the first Florida derby between the two teams with Nashville SC playing the Chicago Fire afterward.
- The matches mark the first of 16 consecutive days of games.
- You can see the entire group stage schedule here.
- The San Jose Earthquakes departed for Orlando on Wednesday, making them the first team to arrive with the rest of the teams set to follow.
More on the “MLS is Back Tournament”:
- The tournaments will be played without fans in the stands.
- Games will be played with the following guidelines:
- 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.
- 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.
- Extensive medical protocols with regular testing will be implemented for the tournament. More information can be found here.
- Some clubs will arrive in Orlando as early as June 24th to start training, while others will train in their home markets and arrive in Orlando no later than one week before their first match.
- The 26 MLS teams will be drawn into one of six groups during a live draw that will take place Thursday, June 11th, at 3:30 pm ET.
- MLS plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in home markets following the conclusion of the “MLS is Back Tournament.”