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Union drawn in Group A of MLS is Back Tournament

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union know who they’ll be facing when the MLS season resumes.

On Thursday afternoon, Jim Curtin’s men were drawn into Group A of the MLS is Back Tournament, a World Cup-style tournament that will be held without fans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

The Union are joined in Group A by “host” Orlando City, expansion sides Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, NYC FC, and Chicago Fire. Group A is the only six-team group in the tournament, with the other five groups consisting of four teams each.

Because the group stage is only three matches, the Union will not face every team in their group. As a result of the draw, they’ll play Miami, Nashville, and NYC FC. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stages, along with the top four third-place finishers.

Although Curtin diplomatically declined to offer any bulletin-board material during a press conference yesterday, his team will like their matchups against two expansion sides and have to feel that they can get out of a group that includes just one other team that made the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The schedule of matches for the tournament will be announced at a later date. You can take a look at the full list of groups here.

Alternatively, if what you’ve always dreamed of is a Zoom meeting featuring Charlie Davies opening ping-pong balls, you can rewatch the tournament draw in all its glory here.

19 Comments

  1. While I like their draw of 3 matches, being in the group of 6 is a HUGE disadvantage. They could pull 5 points from those matches and STILL not even get third place. Not advance despite possibly having more points that some second place teams in other groups.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    I think it’s a decent draw. 6 points should be good enough to go through to the next round and hopefully the Union can do that at a minimum…

  3. I don’t think it’s a huge disadvantage being in a 6 team group. Barring strange results, Group A is practically guaranteed to get the top 3 in the Rof16. Despite the unpredictable nature of the tourney, I’ll take experience over inexperience anyday and the Union has that against Miami and Nashville. To not play Atlanta or even Toronto is a plus to me too.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    It amazes me the amount of people on Twitter giving MLS shit for stuff.
    .
    Come
    The
    Fuck
    On.
    .
    This is THE problem with life in America in a (soccer) nutshell. No soccer. Nothing. Can’t even fart in the wind of the 9th minute in a Sunday pick up game…but now—oh, hey, here’s MLS doing its absolute best to get something up and going… literally writing policy as we breath to get the game back… but fucking stooges —are —as usual- bitching about MLS. Meanwhile those cretins in Major League Baseball.
    .
    this, mind you for anyone around here long enough, coming from a certified seld ordained… cynic of the system, Academy structures and league’s —One Ring….but even I can just be humbled and grateful.
    .
    Pandemic.
    Society on the brink of anarchy.
    Unemployment.
    Disinformation campaigns.
    Lunacy from people we entrust with civic and civil leadership.
    Lunacy from P.E.O.P.L.E….
    every goddamn person now a photojournalist and their followers retweeting the :10 tidbit scenes unfolding….
    etc etc etc….
    .
    Let’s just step back, be grateful and have a bit of hope.

  5. Anyone know if the NYCFC game is going to count as a home game or away game?

    • The league hasn’t announced anything in particular about how the rest of the season will be organized post-tournament. For now the safest assumption is that the tournament games will count toward the regular season as neutral-site games rather than “home” or “road” games. But things remain very much in flux.

      • the three group-stage matches will count in the conference standings. any knockout stage matches will not.
        .
        All matches of eastern conference versus western conference and vice versa have been eliminated. The union will only play eastern teams henceforth.
        .
        Nashville has transferred to the eastern conference for the tournament and for the rest of the season.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        So it sounds like the Union got screwed with their tough opening schedule against two teams the rest of the east won’t have to play.

      • SoccerDad says:

        I’m just hoping the Union won’t have to play in that baseball stadium.

  6. Great One says:

    You just knew the Union would draw the group of 6, literally had no doubt. Can’t wait for the tournament, so excited for soccer to be back.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Ha. I also said the this same thing. Watching the draw I was just waiting for it. No reason the U don’t come out of this group. A definite step back if they don’t.

  7. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I know I may take grief from this, but any way the draw was fixed? In a time of definite financial trouble, MLS needs viewership. El Trafico, Ohio Derby, ATL vs NYRB, Toronto vs Montreal. They also stuck the average teams in smaller markets together, with RSL, Minn, Rapids, and SKC. Even other things, like a juicy playoff rematch between Seattle and Dallas, as well as DC and New England, which I’ll admit may be a stretch.

    .

    All I’m saying is, as a Philly sports fan who has seen my fair share of unjust treatment, it’s hard not to have conspiracy theories sometimes.

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Got an e-mail this morning from the Union that Kevin Durant is joining the team as a minority owner.

  9. Kevin Durant getting involved with the U is really cool! Great to see. He will bring a hih profile vibe for sure!

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