Major League Soccer returns with a bang as it will begin with a tournament at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports in Orlando, Florida. It will be held from July 8th and conclude with the finals on August 11th with 54 matches (39 group and 15 knockout).
There will be a minimum of three matches per day and will be viewable on most of the major league soccer networks. They also announced there might be as many as seven matches in one day.
Plan for Major League Soccer Return
All teams will arrive in Florida by June 24th for training and health protocol procedures. There will be training, practicing and possibly a few friendly contests over a two week period until the July 8th start date arrives. Between July 25-28 the Round of 16 will begin play. July 30th the quarterfinals begins and that concludes on August 1st. The semifinals as August 5-6 as the dates for these contests with the championship set for August 11, 2020.
Major League soccer returns with a group stage tourney of 26 teams with the Eastern Conference divided in three groups. One group will have six teams in it while the other two groups are divided equally with four teams. The Western Conference will have four teams in each of three groups for a 2 team conference. Each team will have three group stage matches over 16 days.
The top two teams from each group along with the four best third-place finishers will move on to the knockout stage, beginning with the Round of 16. If two or more clubs are tied on points in the group stage, MLS regular season tiebreaking procedures are used. The tiebreakers for determining the four 3rd-placed clubs are: (1) points, (2) goal differential, (3) goals scored, (4) fewest disciplinary points.
Major League Soccer Returns Draw
The draw for tournament assignments will happen at 3:30 pm ET on Thursday, June 11. Nashville will, for the remainder of this season, be placed in the Eastern Conference. Orlando SC will be known as the host city and will be assigned a top seed in a six team group. Atlanta United, LAFC, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders will be top group seeds. A draw for the tournament will take place on Thursday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET to determine the placing of the 26 teams into six groups.
The choice of start times for this tournament was basically set to avoid the heat of Orlando. The first game of the day is scheduled for 9 AM ET which makes for some possible uptick in viewership. The time slot allows for the European countries to get a good look at American soccer. It will be 2pm for kick in England and Portugal, and 3 pm in Germany. France, Italy and Spain. Greece and other parts of Eastern Europe will see a 4pm start. Even in China, Beijing sees the contest at 9 pm. The later matches are at 8pm and 0:30 pm Eastern Time.
Commissioner Don Graber had this to say about the unintended surplus of viewers,
“The game times are a function of weather, Nine o’clock in the morning is actually a time one of our broadcast partners are very excited about, they’re looking to have programming. As you know, there are other soccer leagues that broadcast at that time, albeit they play them at a different time of the day. It’s a time we think we can manage the weather and clearly those times later in the evenings can be outside of the warmest time of the day.”
What’s All This Mean?
Regular season points are at stake here as each of the 39 group games will count for points in the standings of the regular season and the one spot in the Concacaf League. This replaces the traditional leader getting the berth. Players will be given an opportunity to make some bonus money with the tournament revenue.
Betting odds will appear soon after the draw!
Major League Soccer Returns in a big way.