Let's try this MLS thing again, shall we? After an aborted start, the 2020 MLS season gets underway on July 8, 2020. And by season, we mean a season kickoff tournament.
They're not just playing for the sake of playing. It's not just a matter of being the best team in American professional soccer. (OK, there is that, too.) There's also a spot in the 20201 Concacaf Champions League at stake. (And a bonus for the winning players from a $1.1 million prize pool.)
And this week, 26 teams in six groups will vie to be that team.
Twenty-five of them will fall short.
Here's what you need to know about the restarted 2020 MLS season, and how to watch it.
OK — what exactly is going on?
COVID-19 kept the MLS season from starting back in February. And what typically takes most of the year is being condensed into a single tournament format. It's called, aptly enough, the MLS Is Back Tournament.
Here's the high-level schedule:
- July 8: Group stage begins
- July 25-28: Round of 16
- July 30-Aug. 1: Quarterfinals
- Aug. 5-6: Semifinals
- Aug. 11: Championship
All of the games are being played in and around Orlando. Like other soccer leagues, games will be played without spectators. And players, coaches and officials on the bench or in the technical area will wear masks and keep a fair distance between each other.
After the tournament, the regular season (insofar as this is a regular season) will continue in the teams' home stadiums, followed by the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and the 25th MLS Cup. That schedule has yet to be released, however, and is subject to, well, everything.
The latest news: Dallas is out
One piece of late-breaking news is that Dallas FC won't be taking part in the tournament because of the high-number of positive COVID-19 tests the team has returned. Same goes for Nashville, which also had to withdraw.
“We have withdrawn Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament. Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “For every decision we make in our return to play, the wellbeing of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority."
How to watch The MLS Is Back Tournament in the United States
Nearly every game in the tournament will be televised. The bulk of the matches will be on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 or TUDN.
Some games also will be streamed with English commentary on Twitter.
How to watch The MLS Is Back Tournament in Canada
Games will be available in Canada on the TSN and TVA networks.
The MLS Is Back Tournament groups
The 24 MLS teams have been selected into six groups for this tournament. Here's how things break down:
- Group A: Orlando, Miami, Philadelphia, NYCFC
- Group B: Seattle, Vancouver, San Jose, Chicago
- Group C: Toronto, New England, Montreal, D.C. United
- Group D: Salt Lake, Sporting KC, Colorado, Minnesota
- Group E: Atlanta, Cincinnati, NY Red Bulls, Columbus
- Group F: LAFC, LA Galaxy, Houston, Portland
The top three teams from Group A will advance, and the top two teams from the remaining groups will move on, too. The next three-highest teams based on total points alway will advance to the Round of 16.
The MLS Is Back Tournament schedule
Group play runs as follows. All times are Eastern.
- July 8: Orlando City 2, Inter Miami 1
- July 9: Philadelphia Union 1, New York City FC 0
- July 9: New England Revolution 1, Montreal Impact 0
- July 9 (postponed): FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- July 10: Seattle Sounders 0, San Jose Earthquakes 0
- July 11: New York Red Bulls 1, Atlanta. United 0
- July 11: Columbus Crew SC 4, FC Cincinnati 0
- July 12: Minnesota 2, Sporting Kansas City 1
- July 12: Real Salt Lake 2, Colorado 0
- July 13: Toronto FC 2, D.C. United 2
- July 13: LAFC 3, Houston 3
- July 13: Portland 2, LA Galaxy 1
- July 14: Chicago 2, Seattle 1
- July 14: Orlando City 3 ,NYCFC 1, 8 p.m.
- July 14: Philadelphia Union 2, Inter Miami 1
- July 15: San Jose Earthquakes 4, Vancouver Whitecaps 3
- July 16: FC Cincinnati 1, Atlanta United 0
- July 16: Toronto FC 4, Montreal Impact 3
- July 16: Columbus Crew 2, New York Red Bulls 0
- July 17: D.C. United 1, New England Revolution 1
- July 17: Sporting Kansas City 3, Colorado Rapids 2
- July 17: Real Salt Lake 0, Minnesota United 0
- July 18: Portland Timbers 2, Houston Dynamo 1
- July 18: LAFC 6, LA Galaxy 2
- July 19: Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes, FS1, 8 p.m.
- July 19: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, 10:30 p.m.
- July 20: Inter Miami vs. NYCFC, ESPN, 9 a.m.
- July 20: Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City, ESPN, 8 p.m.
- July 21: Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution, ESPN, 9 a.m.
- July 21: Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
- July 21: Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United, ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.
- July 22: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City, ESPN, 9 a.m.
- July 22: FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls, ESPN, 8 p.m.
- July 22: Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United FC, ESPN, 10:30 p.m.
- July 23: Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, ESPN, 9 a.m.
- July 23: LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo, FS1, 8 p.m.
- July 23: LAFC vs. Portland Timbers, ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.
Hulu with Live TV
- The cost: $55 a month after a one week free trial
- Watch Hulu on: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, and browsers
- Local channels on Hulu: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and others. Find your local channels here .
More on Hulu with Live TV:
- Hulu Plans and Pricing
- What's new on Hulu this month
Hulu with Live TV
Best of American soccer
Don't miss a single minute.
Hulu is the biggest live-TV streaming service in the United States, and it's a great option if you want to stream MLS games on ESPN or ABC.
- The cost: $55 a month after a one week trial
- Watch Fubo TV on: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, iOS, Android and web browsers
- Local channels on Fubo TV: CBS, Fox, NBC and CW. Find your locals here .
More on Fubo TV:
- Fubo TV
- Fubo TV 4K streaming
Stream the games
So you don't have to miss a minute.
Fubo TV is an excellent option for any sports-lover, and it's one of the only ways to stream the occasional game or event in 4K resolution.
- The cost: $30 a month after your first month for $20
- Watch Sling TV on: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One, LG, or Samsung smart TVs, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire tablets, browsers and more
- Local channels on Sling TV: ABC, NBC and Fox. Find your local channels here .
More on Sling TV:
- Sling TV
- How to subscribe to Sling TV
Pick your track
Sling as fast as you can
Catch the match.
Sling is still one of the least expensive ways to get the most channels. ABC, ESPN, Fox and FS1 are all available on Sling.
AT&T TV Now - Plus Plan
- The cost: $65 a month after a free trial
- Watch AT&T TV Now on: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TVs, iOS, Android, and browsers
- Local channels on AT&T TV Now: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and more. Find your locals here .
More on AT&T TV Now:
AT&T TV Now
Watch it all
It's all there on AT&T TV Now
AT&T TV Now has probably the deepest channel lineup around. And ABC and ESPN are available on every level of the AT&T TV Now plan chart, which makes sense given that it owns the network.
- The cost: $50 a month after a free trial
- Watch YouTube TV on: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung, LG, HiSense or Vizio smart TVs, iOS, Android and browsers
- Local channels on YouTube TV: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and more. Find your locals here .
- TNT on YouTube TV? Yes.
More on YouTube TV:
Get your MLS on
It's easy to use, and easier to love.
YouTube TV is in the Top 3 live-TV services in the U.S., and it's easy to see why. ESPN, Fox, FS1 and ABC also are available in the plan.
How to watch MLS games in Canada
The MLS has a handful of teams north of the border. And so it has a fairly comprehensive method of watching MLS games if you're in Canada.
Another option is TSN.ca , or with the TSN GO app.
And a third option is via TVASports.ca , or through the TVAS app.
All three options include live MLS games, and full replays.
Watch the MLS up north
DAZN Canada is your go-to for watching MLS games if you're in Canada. It runs $20 a month, or $120 if you want to pay annually and save a little.
Watch MLS on Pluto TV
If you're not worried about watching MLS games live as they're being played, Pluto TV is a great option with a dedicated MLS channel.
Pluto has full MLS match replays, classic games, and a number of dedicated MLS shows, streamed 24/7.
Free and easy
Add-supported MLS on-demand
Pluto TV is a great option for MLS games if you want to watch them after the fact. It's free (and ad-supported) and has replays and dedicated MLS shows.
MLS en Español
If you're looking for a dedicated Spanish-language option for MLS games, you're covered, too.
Live MLS games can be watched on Univision, on TUDN.com , or in the TUDN app.
Watch MLS matches from anywhere with a VPN
Football — erm, soccer — is a worldwide sport. It's the most popular sport in the world, actually. There's not a day that goes by that doesn't have a football — erm, soccer — game on somewhere.
But what if you want to watch an MLS game but you're stuck away from home, outside of the U.S. or one of the other supported countries? How do you watch Major League Soccer if you're away from the United States?
That's where a VPN can help. Whether you're on vacation or working (or on a thing called a working vacation, which is wht happens far too often to too many of us), you can still use your favorite app or streaming service outside our borders. All you need is a VPN.
A VPN — short for virtual private network — tunnels your network traffic through a specific set of servers. So even if you're not physically in the United States, your network traffic can be — and that's what lets you watch your MLS game away from home.
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