MLS is Back Tournament: Tune-in info, schedule and who’s playing — everything you need to know

Major League Soccer is nearly back, with the aptly named MLS is Back Tournament kicking off July 8 in Florida. After the league suspended play on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the regular season will resume in a tournament format at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, just outside Orlando. (ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company.)

All 26 clubs will take part, as the league breaks them up into five groups of four and one group of six. The top two in each group, and the four best third-place finishers, will advance to the round of 16 en route to the final taking place on Aug. 11.

How does MLS is Back work?

In the group stage, the MLS is Back Tournament works just the same as the regular season. Results from each team’s three matches will count toward the 2020 standings.

Those who advance from their groups will move into the knockout rounds. These matches will not count toward regular-season points totals, but the tournament’s winner will earn a place in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. Players also will be eligible for bonuses from a $1.1 million prize pool.

MLS is hoping that by the time the tournament ends on Aug. 11, restrictions around the country will have loosened up enough that games can be held in a team’s home stadium. Those games are likely to happen without fans, although there is hope that if the situation improves enough, fans might be able to attend games before the season is done.

How often will there be testing?

All individuals deemed “essential members” of a team’s delegation will be tested both before and after traveling to Orlando. Prior to travel, these tests include two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, 24 hours apart. Players also will undergo a baseline serology (antibody) test as part of a physical exam that includes a temperature check and the completion of a screening questionnaire.

Players, coaches and support staff will be tested every other day for two weeks after arriving in Florida. Those individuals, as well as referees, will then be tested regularly, including prior to each matchday.

MLS is Back groups

Group A (Eastern Conference)
1. Orlando City SC
2. Inter Miami CF
3. New York City FC
4. Philadelphia Union
5. Chicago Fire FC
6. Nashville SC

Group B (Western Conference)
1. Seattle Sounders FC
2. FC Dallas
3. Vancouver Whitecaps
4. San Jose Earthquakes

Group C (Eastern Conference)
1. Toronto FC
2. New England Revolution
3. Montreal Impact
4. D.C. United

Group D (Western Conference)
1. Real Salt Lake
2. Sporting Kansas City
3. Colorado Rapids
4. Minnesota United FC

Group E (Eastern Conference)
1. Atlanta United FC
2. FC Cincinnati
3. New York Red Bulls
4. Columbus Crew SC

Group F (Western Conference)
1. LAFC
2. LA Galaxy
3. Houston Dynamo
4. Portland Timbers

MLS is Back schedule and tune-in info

Wednesday, July 8
Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Nashville SC vs. Chicago Fire FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Thursday, July 9
New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET, TUDN
FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN

Friday, July 10
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Saturday, July 11
Atlanta United FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m. ET, Fox/TUDN
FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew SC, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Sunday, July 12
Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Monday, July 13
LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN
LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Tuesday, July 14
Inter Miami CF vs. Chicago Fire FC, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Philadelphia Union vs. Nashville SC, 8 p.m. ET, TUDN
Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN

Wednesday, July 15
Seattle Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. ET, TUDN
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN

Thursday, July 16
Atlanta United FC vs. FC Cincinnati, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN
Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Friday, July 17
Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Saturday, July 18
Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
LAFC vs. LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Sunday, July 19
New York City FC v. Chicago Fire FC, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN
Philadelphia Union vs. Inter Miami CF, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Monday, July 20
Orlando City SC vs. Nashville SC, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8 p.m. ET, TUDN
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN

Tuesday, July 21
Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Atlanta United FC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 8 p.m. ET, TUDN
Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United, 10:30 p.m. ET, TUDN

Wednesday, July 22
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Thursday, July 23
LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN
LAFC vs. Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

Saturday, July 25
TBD round of 16 match, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
TBD round of 16 match, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

Sunday, July 26
TBD round of 16 match, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1
TBD round of 16 match, 11 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Monday, July 27
TBD round of 16 match, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS1
TBD round of 16 match, 11 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Tuesday, July 28
TBD round of 16 match, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes
TBD round of 16 match, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Thursday, July 30
TBD quarterfinal, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

Friday, July 31
TBD quarterfinal, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Saturday, Aug. 1
TBD quarterfinal, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes
TBD quarterfinal, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Wednesday, Aug. 5
TBD semifinal, 8 p.m. ET, FS1/TUDN

Thursday, Aug. 6
TBD semifinal, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

Tuesday, Aug. 11
TBD final, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

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