Nashville SC

#MLSisBack: Group A schedule and broadcast details

It’s official: the schedule for the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando has been released. There are a few surprises (the order of games not as expected, or certain days having different timeslots available than expected) in the run of play.

MLS also announced that three teams from the six-team Group A will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, while the fourth-place team will be eligible to advance as a qualifier on points (spoiler alert: Group A is very likely to put four teams into the knockout stage).

MLS is Back Tournament
July 8-Aug. 11, 2020 • Reunion, Fla.
Date Time (local) Television Teams
Group A
Wednesday, July 8 8 p.m. EDT ESPN Orlando City SC

Inter Miami CF

Wednesday, July 8 10:30 p.m. EDT ESPN Nashville SC

Chicago Fire FC

Thursday, July 9 9 a.m. EDT ESPN Philadelphia Union

New York City FC

Tuesday, July 14 9 a.m. EDT ESPN Chicago Fire FC

Inter Miami CF

Tuesday, July 14 8 p.m. EDT TUDN (English-language stream on Twitter) Nashville SC

Philadelphia Union

Tuesday, July 14 10:30 p.m. EDT TUDN (English-language stream on Twitter) New York City FC

Orlando City SC

Sunday, July 19 8 p.m. EDT FS1, TUDN New York City FC

Chicago Fire FC

Sunday, July 19 10:30 p.m. EDT FS1, TUDN Philadelphia Union

Inter Miami CF

Monday, July 20 9:00 a.m. EDT ESPN Orlando City SC

Nashville SC

It goes without saying (but hey, I’ll say it) that the first matchdate is crucial. Three points there, and any Group A team has to be feeling pretty good about the chances to make the knockout stage, and for NSC it’s not the toughest opponent in the group. Getting through that Matchdate 1 will also go a long way toward helping us understand what can happen with the final Group A table. There are 19,685 permutations of how the group can play out, and after those three games are played, the number drops to only 729 different potential outcomes.

The best news for Nashville out of the schedule announcement is that the toughest opponent in the group comes in game two, and the Philadelphia Union will have to turn around on far less rest than Nashville. From the final whistle of Matchdate 1 to the first whistle of Matchdate 2, Nashville will get about 140 hours of rest, whereas the Union will get only about 130. That may not seem significant, but with it comes an additional night of sleep for Nashville in comparison to Philly.

Taking advantage of that scheduling quirk could be a key to making the knockout stages.

All told, there’s not a ton we know about the group that we didn’t at 1 this afternoon: the opponents haven’t changed, we just know the order in which NSC will take them on. Somehow, though, that makes this whole thing feel more real and more exciting.

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