24.06.2020 22:43 h

MLS reveals fixtures for return tournament

Major League Soccer revealed on Wednesday the group stage fixtures for its MLS is Back Tournament, which will kick off July 8 in Orlando, Florida, after a four-month COVID-19 shutdown.

MLS suspended play after just two rounds of matches in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Next week, all 26 clubs will participate in the return tournament at the sports complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The San Jose Earthquakes became the first club to arrive in Orlando on Wednesday.

MLS had already announced that two Florida clubs -- Orlando City and David Beckham's fledgling Inter Miami -- would kick off the event.

Miami, the new club owned by former England captain Beckham, has yet to play a home match in its inaugural season.

Each team will play three group-stage matches that will count toward the MLS regular season standings and 16 teams will advance to the knockout round.

The quarter-finals (July 30-August 1) and semi-finals (August 5-6) will set up the championship game on August 11.

Other notable matchups in the group stage see reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders taking on the San Jose Earthquakes on July 10 and Los Angeles FC facing LA Galaxy on July 18.

The winner of the tournament will gain a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, and players will have the chance to earn bonuses as part of a $1.1 million prize money pool.

Once the MLS is Back tournament ends, MLS aims to continue its regular season with a revised schedule of matches at clubs' home grounds, followed by the MLS Cup playoffs.