Major League Soccer will return to the field on July 8 with a unique World Cup-style tournament featuring all 26 clubs competing at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, and now we know the matchups after the tournament draw was held.
Prior to the draw, it was announced that the opening match of the tournament will see both Florida clubs face off: hosts Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF. The full draw — which you can watch above — determined the rest of the six groups. The tournament schedule, including specific matchup dates and full broadcast details, will be announced at a later date.
Here are the results:
- Orlando City SC
- Inter Miami CF
- New York City FC
- Philadelphia Union
- Chicago Fire FC
- Nashville SC
- Seattle Sounders FC
- FC Dallas
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Toronto FC
- New England Revolution
- Montreal Impact
- D.C. United
- Real Salt Lake
- Sporting Kansas City
- Colorado Rapids
- Minnesota United FC
- Atlanta United FC
- FC Cincinnati
- New York Red Bulls
- Columbus Crew SC
- LA Galaxy
- Houston Dynamo
- Portland Timbers FC
Rivalries in the East
The other Eastern Conference groups threw up a couple of tasty rivalry matchups, starting with a Canadian Classique showdown between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact in Group C, where those teams will also face D.C. United and the New England Revolution.
The Hell Is Real derby will also make an appearance in Orlando, as the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati were both drawn into Group E, where they will be joined by two other teams with a little bit of recent bad blood, Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls.
El Trafico & Rocky Mountain Cup
In Group B we'll see a Cascadia clash between the Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps and there will also be a rematch of Seattle's memorable 2019 playoff game against FC Dallas. Matias Almeyda's San Jose Earthquakes will also join the group, adding another intriguing team to the Group B mix.
Group D seed Real Salt Lake drew two rivals in the Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC, one of the league's best teams through two games in 2020. The group added another contender in Minnesota United to round out perhaps one of the most balanced groups of the tournament.
The tastiest matchup, though, might come in Group F, where the LA Galaxy were the first selection in the group after LAFC, meaning El Trafico will also be making an appearance in Orlando. The Houston Dynamo, who have played spoilers for the Galaxy on the final day of the season two years running, were the next team to be drawn into the group, which was rounded out by the Portland Timbers.
The 26 MLS teams were drawn into six groups (Groups A-F). The top two finishers in each group along with the four best 3rd-place teams will move on to the Knockout stage which kicks off with the Round of 16. Get all the tournament details.
Teams will be playing for regular season points in the group stage, while there is also a Concacaf Champions League berth and $1.1 million in prize money on the line.
- Eastern Conference: The 14 East teams were split into three groups, one of six teams (Group A) and two with four teams each (Group C & Group E). Note: For the remainder of the 2020 season, Nashville SC will move to the Eastern Conference.
- Western Conference: The 12 West teams were also divided into three groups, each consisting of four teams each (Group B, Group D, Group F).
Group Stage Matchups
Each MLS club will play three group stage matches which will count toward the overall 2020 regular season standings (win = 3 points, draw = 1 point, loss = 0 points).
In the case of the four-team groups (Groups B-F), each team will face off against the other three. For Group A, which will be made up of six teams, the following will be the three matchups for each:
Each of the six groups featured a seeded team and the draw first determined the group for each of the seeds.
As the “host” team, Orlando City SC were automatically designated as the top seed of six-team Group A (“A1”). Here's the full list of seeds:
- East: Orlando City (hosts)
- East: Atlanta United (2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs semifinalist)
- East: Toronto FC (2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs semifinalist)
- West: LAFC (2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs semifinalist)
- West: Seattle Sounders (2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs semifinalist)
- West: Real Salt Lake (next highest points total in the Western Conference from 2019 season)
Seed Teams Draw Procedure
- The names of the remaining two East seeds (Atlanta & Toronto) were each placed in a ball and those two balls mixed together in a pot.
- A ball was randomly selected by the host and that East team was designated as Group C seed ("C1"). The remaining ball in the pot was the Group E seed ("E1").
- Similarly, the names of the three West seeds (LAFC, RSL, Seattle) were each placed in a ball and those three balls were mixed together in a pot.
- A ball was randomly selected by the host and that West team was assigned as Group B seed ("B1"). The next selection by the host was the Group D seed ("D1"). And the remaining ball was designated as Group F seed ("F1").
With MLS restarting the season in the state of Florida, the MLS is Back Tournament will kick off with a matchup of the two Florida-based teams, Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF. That matchup meant that Inter Miami was designated as team “A2” prior to the draw.
Unseed Teams Draw Procedure
The 10 remaining unseeded East teams and the 9 unseeded West teams were assigned to groups according to the following procedure, beginning with the Eastern Conference:
- The names of the 10 remaining unseeded East teams were each placed in an unmarked ball and the 10 balls were mixed up in a pot.
- The 10 balls were then numbered "1" through "10".
- With Inter Miami already designated as “A2,” a representative from the seeded team in Group C picked a number at random between 1 and 10. The team name in the corresponding ball was assigned to Group C as "C2". The designated representative of the Group E seed then took a turn to do the same and select team "E2". The sequence of turns resumed with Group A seed Orlando City (followed by Group C and Group E seeds) and it was repeated until every unseeded East team was assigned a group slot.
- The names of the 9 unseeded West teams were each placed in an unmarked ball and the 9 balls were mixed up in a pot.
- The 9 balls were then numbered "1" through "9".
- Representatives from each of the Group B, Group D and Group F seeds took turns picking a number at random between 1 and 9. The team name in the corresponding numbered ball was assigned to that seed's group in the next available position (B2, D2 and F2 followed by B3, D3 and F3, etc.). The sequence was repeated until every unseeded West team was assigned a group.