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Report: Major League Soccer’s proposed Orlando plan gets more details

Some things sound good, like soccer returning. Other things, sound a little iffy at best.

MLS: FC Dallas at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken

We all want soccer to return here in the United States. I think that is pretty clear if you are reading this right now. For the last couple of weeks, there have been reports of how Major League Soccer might return and how FC Dallas and the other clubs will likely set off to Orlando, Florida for a period of time to help resume the 2020 season in some capacity.

The Athletic has a new report of how exactly that plan might go and what it could all mean for the teams as well in terms of potential rewards on the year.

Should the tournament go forward, the working plan is for teams to be split into four groups, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the proposal. Two of the groups would consist of teams from the Eastern Conference, and two would consist of teams from the Western Conference, with Nashville SC temporarily switching from West to East.

Under that plan, which has not yet been finalized, defending U.S. Open Cup winners Atlanta United, MLS Cup winners Seattle Sounders and Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC would each be seeded in separate groups, with the remaining group seeded with tournament “hosts” Orlando City.

The remainder of the groups would be allocated via a random draw of teams within their own conferences, with six teams in three of the groups and one Eastern Conference group containing eight squads.

The report explains that beginning in early July, teams would play five games apiece (all inter-conference games with no games against the other conference), with the top two teams in each group advancing to an eight-team, knockout-style competition. According to their multiple sources, group-stage games would count toward MLS league standings, with the intention being for clubs eventually to continue to play regular season games in home markets later this year.

Yeah, so these would be real games. With real meaning on the regular season and not just a tournament that would potentially offer the winner a spot in next year’s Concacaf Champions League. That part could still happen as details have still not been fully fleshed out.

How the league determines which games will roll off (if any do) the current regular season schedule as a result of this tournament remains to be seen.

Also, one of the bigger wrinkles in The Athletics’ report is that Nashville SC will move over to the East for the rest of 2020 — leaving the West with 12 teams and the East with 14. This would also mean expanding the number of teams that reach the playoffs later this year to nine from each conference, instead of the current seven as a way to increase potential revenue.

There is still a lot to be worked out though. Players are not totally on board with things either, with some speaking out already against the plan.

What do you all think of the idea of play resuming in Orlando with games that would ultimately count against the regular season standings?