After a draw conducted Thursday afternoon, all 26 MLS Clubs now know their opponents for the first three matches of the tournament, which starts July 8 at Walt Disney World in Florida. It is expected to be the first men’s professional team sports competition in the United States since the Covid-19 pandemic ground the sports world to a halt in March.
In “Group A,” Orlando City, which was seeded as the host team, will play in a pool against Inter Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Nashville. Each team plays three matches in the group stage, so not every team will play each other.
In “Group B,” Seattle, the seeded team, will play against Dallas, Vancouver and San Jose.
“Group C” has Toronto FC as its seeded team, drawn in against New England, Montreal and DC United.
Real Salt Lake is the seeded team in “Group D,” and will play Kansas City, Colorado and Minnesota in the group stage.
In “Group E,” seeded team Atlanta United faces Cincinnati, New York Red Bulls and Columbus.
Finally, “Group F” consists of seeded team LAFC and LA Galaxy, Houston and Portland.
The top two teams in each group, and the next four best third place finishers, advance to a 16 team knockout round that begins on July 25. Results of the knockout games do not count in the MLS regular season standings.
The quarterfinals of the tournament will be played on July 30, July 31 and August 1. Semifinal matches will be August 5 and 6, and the Final will be played August 11 on ESPN.
The team that wins the tournament receives a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League, with teams splitting a $1.1 million prize pool.
Major League Soccer plans to continue its 2020 season following the conclusion of the Orlando tournament in home markets. Commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday he was “very optimistic” about those plans, and said it was possible that fans could be allowed to attend at least some of those matches.