Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers

The MLS is back (almost)! 

On Wednesday the league announced its return in the MLS is Back Tournament, a World Cup-style tournament to be played at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. 

Like the World Cup, all 26 teams will compete in group stages, with 16 teams advancing to the "Knockout Stage."

The groups were drawn on Thursday afternoon, and the Portland Timbers found themselves in Group F, one of the toughest groups of the tournament. 

They will be joined by LAFC, the LA Galaxy, and the Houston Dynamo. 

During group play, each team will play three matches. At the end of those three matches, the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout round, as well as the four third-place teams with the best records.

The knockout round will be a single-elimination tournament to decide the overall winner. If games in the knockout round are tied at the end of regulation, they will immediately advance to penalty kicks to decide a winner.

Teams are scheduled to arrive in Orlando for the start of "preseason" training on June 24th, with the first group stage games beginning on July 8th. 

The knockout round will start on July 25, with the championship game scheduled for August 11th.