LAFC will open next month’s MLS Is Back tournament on July 13 against the Houston Dynamo while the Galaxy will play the Portland Timbers in its group-play opener on the same day.
The 54-match tournament, which kicks off July 8, will be played entirely behind closed doors at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., and will make MLS the first men’s professional league to return to play in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports in early March.
MLS teams were two games into their 34-game schedules when play was halted. LAFC was unbeaten with a win and a draw while the Galaxy, at 0-1-1, is winless.
The Galaxy and LAFC will face each other in their second group-play match on July 18 before finishing the first round five days later with the Galaxy playing Houston and LAFC meeting Portland. The LAFC-Portland game will be the final match of the opening stage.
Under the competition format, each team‘s group-play games will count in the regular-season standings. The top two teams in each of the six groups, plus the four best third-place teams, will advance to the knockout stages culminating in an Aug. 11 championship. At stake is $1.1 million in prize money and a berth in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League for the winner.
Teams are required to arrive in Florida at least a week before their first game, with the Galaxy and LAFC will have to break training camp in Southern California by July 5. All 26 MLS teams will be quarantined at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort in Orlando, where they will undergo a vigorous COVID-19 testing protocol.
The San Jose Earthquakes, who were scheduled to arrive Wednesday, will be the first team to enter the protective bubble.