MLS will resume play at Disney World Resort in Orlando on July 8, and a pair of Florida teams have the honour of kicking off the tournament with Orlando City facing Inter Miami.

A day after the MLS is Back Tournament was announced, the league held a draw for the group stage on Thursday, placing the 26 teams into six groups.

Sixteen teams will then progress to the knockout stage, which will begin on July 25 ahead of an August 11 final.

Aside from the opening match, the rest of the tournament schedule has yet to be announced.

 

The groups for the MLS is Back Tournament:

Group A (Eastern Conference): Orlando City, Inter Miami, New York City, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire, Nashville SC.
Group B (Western Conference): Seattle Sounders, Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes.
Group C (Eastern Conference): Toronto, New England Revolution, Montreal Impact, DC United.
Group D (Western Conference): Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United.
Group E (Eastern Conference): Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati, New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew.
Group F (Western Conference): Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers.

Carles Gil was surprised by the standard of MLS upon joining New England Revolution and believes the league is not fairly rated in Europe.

Former Valencia, Aston Villa and Deportivo La Coruna forward Gil signed for the Revs in a club-record $2million transfer in January 2019.

Gil has followed in the footsteps of Sebastian Giovinco and Carlos Vela by moving stateside during the prime of his career and quickly impressing.

Indeed, Gil suggests the reputation of MLS as a retirement league - exacerbated by high-profile deals for Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo - is inaccurate.

"[MLS] has surprised me positively," he told Stats Perform News. "I believe we have a different view from Europe about what this league is.

"Probably we think it has a much lower level than it actually has, looking at players who come here to end their career. This is changing a lot and we will be aware of it as the years go on.

"I am very good. It is a different format with no relegations and playing playoffs, but it is a very attractive league to play in."

Gil contributed 10 goals and 14 goals in 2019, earning the New England captaincy, a place in the MLS Best XI and the MLS Newcomer of the Year award.

"Personally, it's been great," he said. "One of the reasons I came here was due to the confidence they showed in me.

"I wanted to get back to the level I couldn't show in previous years. Being honest, I have felt very comfortable since the beginning.

"I have performed well when I have been shown confidence, and I knew I was at the time that I needed that again. That's why I took the decision."

Gil is yet to feature in the 2020 campaign, which was suspended after just two matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MLS is yet to confirm plans to return, although the MLS Players Association has reportedly approved a plan to resume the season in the form of a six-week tournament in Orlando.

Any opportunity to get on the pitch is welcomed by Gil, who added: "I don't mind where and when it is, but sooner is better. And especially in the safest way possible.

"If it has to be in Orlando, let it be in Orlando. And if we can restart the league as it has always been, it is even better. My opinion is to go on, safety granted, the best way possible."

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker said the state's five professional sports teams can re-open their practice facilities on June 6 as the Boston Celtics prepare to return on Monday.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, especially in the United States, where the NBA, MLS and NHL seasons have been postponed since March.

The start of the 2020 MLB campaign has also been delayed due to COVID-19, which has killed over 104,500 people in the USA.

But the Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, New England Patriots and New England Revolution will be able to resume practicing next month, in compliance with the health and safety rules set in place by their respective leagues.

"The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again and I think we all hope opening practices will make that happen a little sooner," Baker said on Friday.

"For all of us, live sports and especially pro sports would be a great thing to see again. It's not only a significant milestone for fans, but also a signal that we continue to do all the things we need to do."

NBA franchise the Celtics, meanwhile, will allow voluntary individual workouts at the Auerbach Center on Monday.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March, but the league is reportedly planning to restart the 2019-20 campaign on July 31.

"We're happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center, and we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

The Celtics (43-21) were third in the Eastern Conference, behind NBA leaders the Milwaukee Bucks and defending champions the Toronto Raptors at the time of the postponement.

Inter Miami suffered another loss to begin life in MLS, while LA Galaxy are also winless through two games.

Coming off a defeat to Los Angeles FC, Inter Miami went down to DC United 2-1 on Saturday.

Rodolfo Pizarro scored the first MLS goal in the club's history, sweeping in a Lewis Morgan cross to give them the lead in just the second minute.

However, the game turned early in the second half when, after Morgan thought he had doubled his side's lead, the visitors had the goal ruled out and Roman Torres sent off for a handball.

DC equalised through Yamil Asad's penalty in the 59th minute before finding what proved to be the winner just after the hour-mark.

Edison Flores hit the post with a free-kick and Frederic Brillant reacted quickest to fire in the rebound and lift DC to their first win of the season.

LA Galaxy are without a win through two games after suffering a 1-0 loss at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Tosaint Ricketts' smart side-footed finish in the 74th minute was enough for the Whitecaps.

Joe Corona was then sent off for Galaxy, who were beaten despite David Bingham later saving a Lucas Cavallini penalty.

Without the injured Josef Martinez, Atlanta United made it two wins from two by beating Cincinnati 2-1.

There are three teams with perfect records in the Western Conference in Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United and the Colorado Rapids.

Sporting KC thrashed Houston Dynamo 4-0, Ike Opara netted a brace in Minnesota's 5-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado edged Orlando City 2-1 thanks to Drew Moor's late winner.

New England Revolution and Chicago Fire drew 1-1, Real Salt Lake came from behind to hold the New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw and Maximiliano Urruti's brace helped Montreal Impact draw 2-2 with Dallas.

Ifunanyachi Achara's goal on his MLS debut saw Toronto overcome New York City 1-0, while the Seattle Sounders drew 1-1 against Columbus Crew.

Thierry Henry made a winning start as Montreal Impact coach in MLS, while Javier Hernandez's LA Galaxy debut ended in a draw on Saturday.

At the helm of Montreal, Henry's Impact came from behind to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on the opening day of the MLS season.

The Arsenal great's side had fallen behind after just 13 minutes at Stade Olympique, where Teal Bunbury volleyed in a Cristian Penilla cross.

However, Romell Quioto headed in from close range to bring Montreal level just eight minutes before half-time.

And the hosts found an 80th-minute winner as Maximiliano Urruti spectacularly lobbed stranded New England goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Hernandez made his LA Galaxy debut in a 1-1 draw away to the Houston Dynamo.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward played 90 minutes as Houston came from behind, Mauro Manotas cancelling out Cristian Pavon's opener.

Atlanta United spoiled Nashville SC's first MLS game with a 2-1 victory at Nissan Stadium.

Walker Zimmerman scored Nashville's first goal to cancel out Ezequiel Barco's opener, but Emerson Hyndman's 37th-minute strike proved to be the winner in front of a crowd of 59,069.

Elsewhere, Oswaldo Alanis' brilliant 95th-minute free-kick helped the San Jose Earthquakes hold Toronto to a 2-2 draw.

The Colorado Rapids recorded a 2-1 win over DC United, Dallas beat Philadelphia Union 2-0, Orlando City and Real Salt Lake played out a 0-0 draw and Sporting Kansas City overcame the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1.

Wayne Rooney departed MLS after DC United were humbled by Toronto in extra time of their play-off clash, while defending champions Atlanta United advanced.

Derby County-bound Rooney was helpless as DC suffered a 5-1 defeat to Toronto after extra time in the opening round of the MLS post-season on Saturday.

Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney agreed a player-coach role with Championship outfit Derby in August, ahead of his January return to England.

But Rooney's DC and MLS farewell did not go according to plan after his team conceded four extra-time goals away to Toronto at BMO Field.

A dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser from DC's Lucas Rodriguez had forced extra time after cancelling out Marco Delgado's first-half opener.

However, Toronto erupted in extra time as Jonathan Osorio scored a brace while Richie Laryea and Nick DeLeon were also on target in the first additional period.

Toronto – MLS Cup champions in 2017 – will now face New York City in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Atlanta's hopes of claiming back-to-back MLS titles remain on track after edging New England Revolution 1-0.

Franco Escobar settled the contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where his 70th-minute goal guided Frank de Boer's side to the Eastern Conference semis to play the winner of Philadelphia Union versus New York Red Bulls.

Elsewhere, Seattle Sounders survived a seven-goal thriller as they prevailed 4-3 against Dallas after extra time.

A Jordan Morris hat-trick, completed in the 113th minute, sent the Sounders through to the next round, where they will meet Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semi-finals after their late 2-1 win over Portland Timbers.

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