MLS is Back

Everything You Need to Know for MLS is Back Tournament

The wait is over. MLS is Back Tournament is official and the New York Red Bulls are getting ready to participate in a one of a kind tournament that will include telecasts that will feature unique and experimental technologies, including virtual commercial displays, new camera positions, advanced audio and fan integration elements. The tournament will also showcase unprecedented access to players and coaches.

What to know of the MLS is Back Tournament: 

When and Where

The tournament will kick off on July 8, and clubs can start arriving on June 24. It’s worth noting that teams cannot arrive later than seven days prior to their first match. Tournament is scheduled to end on August 11. All games and training sessions will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

Group Stage

Similar to a FIFA World Cup format, there’ll be games almost everyday, with games beginning at 9 a.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. EDT.

For the rest of the 2020 season, Nashville SC will move to the Eastern Conference, leaving 14 clubs in the Eastern Conference and 12 in the Western Conference. 

The Eastern Conference will have three groups -- two with four teams and one with six teams. 

Meanwhile, the Western Conference will have three groups, with four teams each.

The New York Red Bulls will face off against Atlanta United FC, FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC in the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida.

Each team will play at least three group stage matches, which will count toward the regular season standings when play resumes.  

Knockout Rounds

The first and second place of each group will move to the knockout rounds. Also the two best third-placed teams will complete the Round of 16 bracket. From this point on, all matches will be single-elimination, like the World Cup. 

After the final is set and done on August 11, a total of 54 games will be played and none will overlap. 

All games will be televised nationally across MLS partner networks.  

What’s Next? 

Due to the fact that the teams that advance to the knockout rounds will play an uneven number of games compared to those that don’t make it out of the group stage, the results in the knockout rounds will not count towards the regular season standings. 

However, what will be at stake in Florida will be a $1.1 million prize and an automatic berth in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. Recently, the Red Bulls reached the SCCL semifinals in 2018 and quarterfinals in 2019. 

Clubs that don’t make it out of the group stage will fly back to their home markets and prepare for the restart of the regular season. 

The final number of matches and the schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season will be announced in the coming weeks.