Revolution begin MLS is Back Tournament July 9 against Montreal

New England plays D.C. United and Toronto in its other group stage games.

The Revolution's trio of designated players: Gustavo Bou, (7), Adam Buksa, (9), and Carlos Gil, (22).
The Revolution's trio of designated players: Gustavo Bou, (7), Adam Buksa, (9), and Carlos Gil, (22). –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Major League Soccer on Wednesday announced the schedule for the group stage of its World Cup-style tournament, with the Revolution set to get underway July 9 at 8 p.m. against the Montreal Impact.

New England will play D.C. United July 16, concluding the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament with a final game against Toronto F.C. July 21. The entire competition will be played at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Revolution’s group stage schedule, along with the broadcasting plan:

  • Thursday, July 9 vs. Montreal Impact, 8 p.m. (TUDN /TSN/TVA/Streaming on Twitter)
  • Thursday, July 16 vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. (FS1/TUDN/TSN)
  • Tuesday, July 21 vs. Toronto FC, 9 a.m. (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN)

Should the Revolution finish in the top two of the group (or are one of the four best third-place teams), they will advance to the knockout stage. From there, the 16 qualifying teams will be whittled down until a champion is decided in the tournament final Aug. 11.

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MLS has also firmly stated that it wants to resume the regular season (followed by MLS Cup playoffs) at some point following the tournament. To that end, points accumulated in the group stage will count toward the regular-season standings, adding incentive for Bruce Arena’s team (which began the 2020 season 0-1-1) to hit the ground running.

The Revolution enter the tournament buoyed by the return of captain and playmaker Carles Gil, the 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year. The 27-year-old Spanish midfielder missed the team’s first two games because of a foot injury, and was only just beginning to return to training when the season was suspended in March because of the pandemic.

New England also boasts two other Designated Players, forwards Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa. The MLS is Back Tournament should provide a chance for the trio to finally play together in meaningful games ( Buksa was signed prior to the 2020 season).

Looking at New England’s group stage opponents, Arena’s team has a somewhat difficult draw. Both Toronto F.C. and D.C. United were playoff teams in 2019, with Toronto making a run to the MLS Cup (losing to the Seattle Sounders). Montreal, coached by former French international Thierry Henry, defeated New England in the season opener, 2-1.

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Elsewhere around the league, one notable matchup is the “El Tráfico” rivalry game between Los Angeles Football Club and the Los Angeles Galaxy, both of whom are in Group F. The two league powerhouses will play July 18 at 10:30 p.m.

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