MLS is Back Tournament draw sees LAFC, LA Galaxy picked together

Major League Soccer held its draw for the MLS is Back Tournament as the league prepares to return to action at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 8 in Kissimmee, Florida.

The Eastern Conference portion of the draw saw Canadian rivals Toronto FC and Montreal Impact drawn against one another in Group C and 2018 MLS Cup champions Atlanta United paired with the Columbus Crew, FC Cincinnati and the New York Red Bulls.

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On the Western Conference side of the draw, defending MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders were the seeded team in Group B and were paired with Cascadia rivals Vancouver. In Group F, LAFC was picked alongside the LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers.

The tournament will consist of a group stage with each team playing three matches, followed by a knockout stage. The final will be played Aug. 11. The teams were drawn into six groups, with the top two teams in each group, plus the four best third-place finishers, qualifying for the round of 16.

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

GROUP B (Western Conference)
1. Seattle Sounders*
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

GROUP E (Eastern Conference)
1. Atlanta United*
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

* denotes seeded team in each group

All of the group stage matches will count in the regular-season standings, with the winner of the tournament earning a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, regardless of whether it is a U.S. or Canadian club. The first match pits MLS' Florida teams Orlando City and Inter Miami in Group A against one another, with a total of 54 matches played over the course of the tournament.

Teams will begin to head to Orlando starting on June 24, though arrival dates will vary because most teams will prefer to train in their home facilities. Teams must arrive no later than seven days before their first match.

In addition to matches that count in the regular-season standings and the Champions League berth, players will have the opportunity to earn additional bonuses as part of a $1.1 million prize pool.

"We are pleased to team up with Disney to relaunch the 2020 MLS season and get back to playing soccer," MLS commissioner Don Garber said on Wednesday. "The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play."

MLS has been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic since March 12, when the regular season was just two matches old.