REAL SALT LAKE
RSL Manager Freddy Juarez Eager To Begin Orlando Tournament Preparations
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake manager Freddy Juarez is thrilled with the idea of playing in the “MLS is Back” tournament in Orlando starting in July. It was announced on Wednesday, June 10 that the tournament will go ahead as previously rumored.
Much to the surprise of most, the winner of the tournament will be rewarded with a 2021 CONCACAF Champions League bid. The added incentive will add anticipation to the tournament games.
On a recent phone call with members of the media, Juarez admitted that he is very excited to start preparations for the tournament.
Excitement Levels High
“That is what really excited me, it will not just be another pre-season tournament,” Juarez said regarding the regular-season points and CONCACAF incentives. “Although it might look like it at times due to the long layoff.”
What to know about the MLS is Back Tournament. #RSL pic.twitter.com/erce4ChvgX
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) June 10, 2020
“This is a great opportunity…that was my message today when I spoke to the group. There are things out there to win, and I for one would love for our team to compete to get into the Champions Cup,” Juarez added.
The tournament will be held starting July 8 and will conclude on August 11. The Eastern and Western Conference teams will be split into six total groups, three from the East and three from the West. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stages, the top four third-placed teams will also advance while those clubs that do not qualify will compete in a consultation bracket.
Over the course of the tournament, 54 games will be played and will be televised on MLS partner networks.
▪️ Tournament winner earns a 2021 @TheChampions berth
▪️ Group-stage games count towards regular season points
▪️ Extensive medical protocols in place
Details on the #MLSisBack Tournament ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/iG9xYEMn8g
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 10, 2020
Zac MacMath informed the media that the Real Salt Lake team was divided on the issue of playing in the tournament. However, Juarez expects the entire team to make the trip, especially now that there is so much on the line.
“If someone chooses not to go, then I respect it. We all have our certain opinions but the group that goes it will be like every other day. We feel like we have depth,” Juarez stated.
Currently, he has not heard of any players that are not going to attend the trip.
On Thursday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. MT MLS will hold a tournament draw to decide how the groups will be filled. You can follow along on MLS official Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube platforms or by going to their official website.
Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.
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