Crew, along with in-state rival, draws into Group E of MLS is Back tournament

Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

“Hell is Real” is coming to Orlando.

The draws for the six groups of the MLS is Back tournament were announced Thursday with the Columbus Crew slotted into Group E with Atlanta United FC, New York Red Bulls and in-state foe FC Cincinnati, setting up the rivalry game known as the “Hell is Real Derby” in the group stage.

The other groups in the Eastern and Western Conferences played out as follows.

MLS is set to resume play with the World Cup-style tournament format beginning July 8 in Orlando. All 26 of the league’s teams will participate in the group stage. The top two from each group and the top four third-place finishers will move on to the knockout round. A champion will be crowned in the final on Aug. 11.

When the MLS season came to a halt due to the pandemic, the Crew were in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with four points and a 1-0-1 record.