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Professional Jan 03, 2022

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup set to return in 2022 for 107th edition

CHICAGO – The U.S. Soccer Open Cup Committee approved the competition format and set the round of entry for each Division into the 2022 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The 2022 tournament will see changes that were ratified after the conclusion of the 2019 tournament but never saw implementation when the 2020 and 2021 editions of U.S. Soccer’s National Championship were canceled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

REVISED COMPETITION FORMAT

In a significant change, the competition format for 2022 will see 17 Division I clubs from Major League Soccer (MLS) enter in the Third Round, one round earlier than MLS teams entered in 2019.

The remaining eight MLS clubs, which will include the four USA entrants to the 2022 Concacaf Champions League and the next two best American regular-season finishers in each of the league’s Eastern and Western Conferences, will enter in the Round of 32.

The format revision increases the number of matches between Division I Major League Soccer teams and those from lower divisions across multiple rounds of the competition, starting with the Third Round.  It also increases the opportunity for up to 24 lower division clubs to reach the Round of 32, up from 11 in 2019. The 2019 tournament saw 11 “David vs. Goliath” matchups involving MLS sides over the first four rounds, while 2022 will have 17 clashes in the Third Round plus up to 16 others (depending on Third Round results and the Round of 32 Draw) in the following round.

Additionally, the Open Cup Committee determined that all eligible professional Division II and Division III sides will enter in the Second Round, while teams from the Open Division – which encompasses all clubs and leagues outside of the three professional divisions – will begin in the First Round.

EXPANDED COMPETITION CALENDAR

In July of 2021, the Committee ratified the 2022 competition schedule, with the First Round set for March 22-23, the earliest start in the Open Cup’s modern era (1995 to present).

The expanded tournament calendar will allow rounds to take place at least two weeks apart, providing additional time for home teams to market and sell tickets and for visiting clubs to arrange travel earlier at lower cost. In 2019, only one week separated the First and Second Rounds, as well as the Rounds of 32 and 16.

As importantly, for the first time in the Open Cup’s modern era when all eligible pro teams are participating (2012 to present), all rounds involving professional clubs will take place outside of national team call-up periods. This scheduling feature, customary for all major domestic cup competitions throughout the world, will allow all the top players, barring injury or suspension, to be available for selection for every round.

2022 FIRST ROUND CLUBS

The First Round will feature matchups of teams from the Open Division: the 11 Open Division Qualifiers that advanced this fall; Landsdowne Yonkers FC (N.Y.), the 2021 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion; and a number of clubs to be determined from the National Premier Soccer League and USL League Two, nationwide amateur leagues that both elected the Open Division National Leagues track (using league results from 2021) for qualifying teams for the 2022 Open Cup.

MATCH-UP DETERMINATION COMING

The method for determining pairings for each round and the number of berths allocated to NPSL and USL League Two sides will be decided by the Open Cup Committee after the pro team confirmation deadline on Dec. 31, 2021 and announced in early January.

ESPN+ TO BROADCAST MATCHES

Matches from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup return to ESPN+ in 2022. The broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

2022 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP COMPETITION SCHEDULE

Jan. 6                               Open Division berth allocation announced

Jan. 19                             First Round pairings announced

Jan. 26                             Second Round pairings and possible pairings announced

March 22-23                    First Round (Open Division teams enter)

April 5-7                          Second Round (Division II and III teams enter)

April 8                             Third Round Draw

April 19-21                       Third Round (17 Division I teams enter)

April 22                            Round of 32 Draw

May 10-11                       Round of 32 (remaining 8 Division I teams enter)

May 12                            Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw

May 24-25                       Round of 16

June 21-22                       Quarterfinals

June 23                            Semifinal/Final Hosting Draw

July 26-27                        Semifinals

Sept. 6-7 or 13-14            Final

2022 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Professional Division Teams Eligible to Participate:

Division I – Major League Soccer

Teams entering in the Round of 32 (8): Colorado Rapids, Nashville SC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City

Teams entering in the Third Round (17): Atlanta United FC, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, Chicago Fire FC, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Cincinnati, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami CF, Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes

Division II – USL Championship (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)

Teams entering in the Second Round: To be named after the Dec. 31 professional division confirmation deadline

Division III – USL League One (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)

Teams entering in the Second Round: To be named after the Dec. 31 professional division confirmation deadline

Division III – National Independent Soccer Association (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)

Teams entering in the Second Round: To be named after the Dec. 31 professional division confirmation deadline

Division III – MLS NEXT Pro (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)

Teams entering in the Second Round: Rochester NY FC, St. Louis City SC

Open Division Teams, entering in First Round:

Local Qualifiers (11):

East Region: Brockton FC United (Mass.), Lynchburg FC (Va.), Nova FC (Va.), Oyster Bay United FC (N.Y.)
Southeast Region: City Soccer FC (Fla.), Orlando FC Wolves (Fla.)

Central Region: Azteca FC (Colo.), D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club (Texas)

West Region: Contra Costa FC (Calif.), Escondido FC (Calif.), San Fernando Valley FC (Calif.)

2021 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion: Landsdowne Yonkers FC (N.Y.)

National Premier Soccer League: To be named after confirmation of the Open Division berths available. The NPSL entered its teams via the National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations, opting to use 2021 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2022 tournament.

USL League Two: To be named after confirmation of the Open Division berths available. USL League Two entered its teams via the National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations, opting to use 2021 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2022 tournament.

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