Sports are slowly coming back, and one of the first to return since March (when COVID-19 first began) is Major League Soccer, a.k.a. MLS.
What is MLS?
MLS is the men’s professional soccer team. It features 23 teams in the United States and three teams in Canada. For those who don’t know much about Major League Soccer, let’s dive into the basics.
Soccer is played by two clubs, each fielding 11 players on the pitch at a time. It is one of the fastest-paced sports, with a simple objective: to score a goal. An MLS soccer pitch varies between 110-120 yards long, 70-75 yards wide, and has opposing goals. It is typically played on grass or field turf, and the field markings include a halfway line, penalty areas, a center spot for kick-offs, and corners. Each match consists of 2 – 45 minutes halves, with the clock continuously running throughout. At the end of each 45 minute half, there is stoppage time – this time is kept by the head referee and varies based on the events of each half.
Like all team sports, the main “goal” is to work together as a team to score goals and prevent the opposing team from scoring.
There are four main positions on a soccer field: Goalkeeper, Midfielders, Forwards and Defenders.
Goalkeeper: The job of this one player is to keep the ball from going in the net. The goalie is the only person who is allowed to touch the ball with their hands during a game.
Midfielders: The midfielders are very important because they need to be efficient at both offense and defense. The midfielders must prevent the opposing team from coming near their net, while also passing the ball to the Forwards who will be scoring the goals..
Forwards: As mentioned above, the job of a forward is to score goals for the team. They are also referred to as “strikers.” Forwards must always be prepared to score.
Defenders: The defenders basically play as second goalies. Their main job is to ensure the ball doesn’t go past them. They “defend” the net, making sure the other team cannot score a goal.
How will MLS 2020 Work?
This year’s season is going to look a bit different than those in the past.
Beginning July 8th and going through August 11th, there will be 54 matches played as part of the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament. The tournament will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World Resort in Florida.
The MLS will be dividing the 26 teams into six groups. The Eastern and Western conferences will have three groups– similar to the group stages during FIFA World Cup play. The teams will play nearly every day as they plan on playing three group stage matches over 16 consecutive days, proceeds by the Round of 16 play, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and the Championship.
What is at Stake?
- Each of the 39 group-stage games will count for points towards the 2020 regular season
- The winning team will earn a spot in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.
- The tournament will allow the players to earn bonuses as part of the $1.1 million prize pool.
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For more info on the MLS 2020 Season, check out the article below!