LAFC and striker Carlos Vela will be in a group with the LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers FC for the MLS is Back Tournament this summer in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Paul Buck/EPA-EFE
June 12 (UPI) -- Major League Soccer has drawn the groups for the MLS is Back Tournament. The groups include rivals from Florida, Los Angeles, Ohio and Canada, which sets the stage for juicy matchups this summer in Orlando, Fla.
The July 8 to Aug. 11 tournament marks the return of MLS since the season was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 26-team league was divided into six groups as part of the draw Thursday. Groups A, B and C are led by Eastern Conference squads Orlando City SC, Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC. Groups D, E and F are led by top Western Conference seeds Real Salt Lake, Atlanta United FC and LAFC.
Orlando City SC shares Group A with in-state rival Inter Miami CF. The Montreal Impact join their Canadian foe Toronto FC in Group C. Ohio squads FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew share Group E.
The El Trafico rivalry between LAFC and the LA Galaxy highlights Group F. Group D also includes rivals Sporting KC and the Colorado Rapids.
The top two finishers in each group and the four best third-place teams will advance to the tournament's knockout stage in the Round of 16. Teams will also play for regular season points in the group stage. The winner of the tournament will claim a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League and a $1.1 million prize.
The MLS season will continue after the summer tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort.
MLS is Back Tournament groups
Orlando City SC
Inter Miami CF
New York City FC
Chicago Fire FC
Seattle Sounders FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
San Jose Earthquakes
New England Revolution
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City
Minnesota United FC
Atlanta United FC
New York Red Bulls
Columbus Crew SC
Portland Timbers FC