NEWS — The rumors have proven true. This morning, Major League Soccer, announced a plan to return to play. The aptly named MLS is Back Tournament will begin in Orlando, on the July 8. Full details on the tournament can be found here.
MLS Announces Return Date and Plan to Complete 2020 Tournament
The most important note to takeaway from today’s announcement is that the tournament will be in addition to, not in place, of the completion of the 2020 MLS season. The tournament will be played under World Cup format. However, there is a caveat. The matches played during the group stages will go towards the 2020 regular season points total. While a revised schedule to complete the regular season has yet to be finished, points up for grabs early make this tournament much more than an exhibition.
In addition to points in the group stage, the winner of the tournament will receive an automatic berth in the Concacaf Champions League for 2021. While the future of the 2020 Concacaf Champion’s League tournament has yet to be decided, receiving a berth is massive for any club. More importantly, this tournament will serve as a test run. Should no issues occur during the Orlando tournament, a condensed 2020 season could be arranged.
Counting down the days 'til ???? ?…
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 10, 2020
What This Means for LAFC
In general, for everyone, this means one thing: MLS is back.
Every club will use this tournament to get players back to match fit. Some will focus on preparation, with eyes ahead to a finished regular season. Meanwhile, many other clubs will be focused on winning it all in Orlando. LAFC will undoubtedly fall into the latter category. One silver lining for the black and gold during quarantine has been the club being able to get to full strength.
Adama Diomande and new signing Bradley Wright-Phillips suffered injuries before the 2020 campaign began. However, without word to the contrary, it looks as if both will be healthy and ready for inclusion. This team has always been the type of team that wants to win every match and every tournament they participate in. Expect this to be no different.
The Look Ahead
Today is a glorious day. MLS is returning. With the NBA also aiming for a July return — also held in Orlando — fingers will be crossed. Barring any unforeseen events, this is the return, albeit cautiously, of sports. Should all go to plan, games will be played back at The Banc sooner rather than later.