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MLS is Back Tournament Draw: How to Watch & Open Thread

Find out who Atlanta United’s first post-suspension opponents will be.

SOCCER: FEB 25 Concacaf Champions League - Motagua at Atlanta United Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLS is back with the MLS is Back Tournament. Yes, that is the real name they decided to use. Today we’ll find out who plays who to open the return-to-play tournament in Orlando with a good old-fashioned draw.

While there might not be any baton-twirling stage performers and horrible live music acts like we’re accustomed to seeing before many major draws, this one should still be quite interesting. And it’s sports to talk about, so who are we to complain?

The group format will play out like this:

Orlando City (Hosts), Toronto FC (Eastern Conference Champions) and Atlanta United (U.S. Open Cup Champions) will be the three seeded teams in the East. Seattle Sounders (MLS Cup Champions), LAFC (Supporters Shield Winners) and Real Salt Lake (Next highest Western conference points total) are the three seeded teams for the West.

All groups will contain the normal four teams except for Orlando’s Group A which will have six.

The draw procedure will take place like this, according to

The names of the remaining two East seeds (Atlanta & Toronto) are each placed in a ball and those two balls mixed together in a pot.

A ball is randomly selected by the host and that East team will be designated as Group C seed. The remaining ball in the pot is the Group E seed.

Similarly, the names of the three West seeds (LAFC, RSL, Seattle) are each placed in a ball and those three balls are mixed together in a pot.

A ball is randomly selected by the host and that West team is assigned as Group B seed. The next selection by the host will be the Group D seed. And the remaining ball will be designated as Group F seed.

The top two teams in each group after three matches will advance to the Round of 16, as well as the four best third-place finishers.

The remainder of the tournament will play out like the FIFA World Cup, except matches will go straight to penalties if tied after 90 minutes.

Thursday’s draw will be broadcast all over MLS’s social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their official website. Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Head down to the comments to discuss any and all draw related things. Who do you hope Atlanta United ends up playing in the group stage? What would be the most entertaining final?