MLS reveals tournament format as league gears up for July resumption

MLS to resume in a World Cup style
Ernest Sunday

Major League Soccer has confirmed the league will be played in a world-cup style in July when football returns in Florida.

The MLS confirmed the outcome of the meeting had for returning of the league at Florida in July. All 26 MLS clubs are going to be participating in the tournament hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The competition will run from July 8 to August 11, starting with the group stage and further to the knockout stage for the clubs that will qualify in the group stage.

Any team that comes out in the knockout stage will automatically qualify for CONCACAF Champions League that will be played in 2021 with an extra million prize pool.

The round of 16 will last from July 25-28 with the quarterfinals held between July 30-August 1. The two semifinal matches will be played on August 5 and 6 before crowning a champion on August 11.

"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. "We also recognize that the death of George Floyd and others has focused our country on issues of racial injustice, inequality and violence against black men and women.

"Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long."

The group stage of the tournament will have matches play every day with three games a day by 9 am, 8 pm, and 9 pm EDT in what looks like a World Cup tournament. On Thursday the live match draw will be held.

The Eastern Conference will have three whole groups, with one group being made up of six teams and two consisting of four teams each. The Western Conference, meanwhile, will have three groups, each consisting of four teams as expansion side Nashville SC will temporarily play in the East.

Orlando City who will host the tournament will be treated as an already qualified team. Four other teams like Atlanta United, Los Angeles Football Club, Seattle Sounders FC, Tronto FC which are teams that played semifinals in the last year's playoffs and Real Salt Lake which is the team with next highest points from the west.

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