“We are just excited to get back playing soccer,” Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said.
Atlanta United was 2-0-0, including a 2-1 win against Cincinnati, when the season was suspended March 12 because of COVID-19. Cincinnati includes former Atlanta United players Greg Garza and Brandon Vazquez.
Atlanta United has a history with two teams in its group.
Atlanta United was knocked out of the 2017 playoffs by Columbus, and Designated Player Ezequiel Barco suffered a knee injury after a hard tackle by a Columbus player in the 2019 U.S. Open. Columbus features former Atlanta United player Darlington Nagbe.
Atlanta United has had numerous tough games against the Red Bulls, including losing to them its first-ever game in 2017. Atlanta United eliminated the Red Bulls from the MLS playoffs in 2018 on its way to winning the MLS Cup. The Five Stripes have yet to defeat Red Bulls in a regular-season game, though.
There should be tantalizing games in the other groups as well.
Orlando and expansion club Inter Miami will meet for the first time in the tournament’s first game July 8. Also in the group at rivals NYCFC and Philadelphia.
Group B features Cascadia rivals Seattle, the reigning MLS Cup holders, and Vancouver.
Group C features Toronto and Montreal, as well as two of the league’s original teams, New England and D.C. United.
Group D features rivals Sporting KC, Real Salt Lake and Colorado.
Group E features LAFC and the L.A. Galaxy, as well as Portland.
MLS is Back tournament groups
1. Orlando City SC*
2. Inter Miami CF
1. Seattle *
4. San Jose
1. Toronto *
2. New England
4. D.C. United
1. Real Salt Lake*
2. Sporting KC
1. Atlanta United*
3. New York Red Bulls
2. L.A. Galaxy
* Seeded club