After nearly three months of suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Soccer broke the ice this week by announcing the MLS is Back Tournament, which will take place from July 8 to Aug. 11 at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
Sporting learned their three group stage opponents for the historic competition this afternoon, joining Group D alongside Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United FC.
With Sporting Kansas City ramping up their preparations for next month, the Nutmeg Podcast host Josh Klingler caught up with assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin to discuss the momentous tournament.
"The fact that we've created a World Cup-style to capture the attention even further is a great idea," Zavagnin said. "It's the best solution considering the circumstances that we face right now. All of our players and coaches are looking forward to the opportunity. It's really going to be interesting in that group phase, in which games are going to be played every day. They're going to come fast and furious in a World Cup format, which is always interesting in the group phase and adds some excitement in the later knockout phases as well. There's obviously bonus money involved and Champions League qualification (up for grabs), so I think it's meaningful for both fans and players."
Listen to the full podcast below and click here for more information about the MLS is Back Tournament and Sporting's tournament draw.
Previous episodes of The Nutmeg Podcast
- Episode 101: Defender Seth Sinovic (Aug. 13, 2019)
- Episode 102: Midfielder Gianluca Busio (Aug. 27, 2019)
- Episode 103: Goalkeeper Tim Melia (Sept. 10, 2019)
- Episode 104: "Kitman" Mike Flaherty (Sept. 24, 2019)
- Episode 105: Midfielder Roger Espinoza (Oct. 8, 2019)
- Episode 106: Assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin (Oct. 22, 2019)
- Episode 107: Defender Jaylin Lindsey (Nov. 5, 2019)
- Episode 108: Chief Communications Officer Rob Thomson (Nov. 19, 2019)
- Episode 109: Manager Peter Vermes - Part 1 (Dec. 3, 2019)
- Episode 110: Manager Peter Vermes - Part 2 (Dec. 17, 2019)
- Episode 111: President & CEO Jake Reid (Jan. 3, 2019)
- Episode 201: Defender Graham Zusi (Jan. 14, 2020)
- Episode 202: Goalkeeper Tim Melia and defender Cameron Duke (Jan. 29, 2020)
- Episode 203: Forward Khiry Shelton (Feb. 12, 2020)
- Episode 204: Forward Daniel Salloi (Feb. 25, 2020)
- Episode 205: Veterans Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi (March 10, 2020)
- Episode 206: Manager Peter Vermes talks COVID-19 (March 20, 2020)
- Episode 207: Forward Johnny Russell (March 26, 2020)
- Episode 208: Retired midfielder Benny Feilhaber (April 16, 2020)
- Episode 209: Midfielder and eMLS star Wan Kuzain (May 6, 2020)
- Episode 210: Retired goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (May 19, 2020)