In an attempt to create more “David vs Goliath” matchups – their words, not mine – US Soccer has changed the competition format for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. As part of the changes, the calendar has moved up with the 1st Round begining March.
The decisions to revamp the U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer’s National Championship – were voted on and passed during the Committee’s meeting in late November.
As part of the new format, 11 MLS clubs – including FC Dallas – will enter the competition during the 3rd Round. That’s one round earlier than in the past few years. FCD will play their opening game between April 21st and 23rd.
The remaining 12 MLS teams will still enter in the 4th Round. Which teams get the later entry? The four USA entrants to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League and the next four best American regular-season finishers in each of the league’s Eastern and Western Conferences.
According to US Soccer, the format creates more chances for lower division clubs to advance to later rounds – up to 20 – as well as creating more MLS vs Lower Division matchups – up to 27 potentially depending on results and draw.
USL-C (DII), USL-1 (DIII), and NISA (DIII) will enter in the 2nd Round. Everyone else, all the Open Division teams including USL-2 and NPSL, enter in the 1st Round.
Local record-holding amateur qualifiers NTX Rayados are in the Open Division and will begin play on March 24th or 25th.
Denton Diablos and Fort Worth Vaqueros should be in the Cup although the qualifying teams from NPSL have yet to be announced. NPSL uses the previous seasons league results to determine Cup teams.
North Texas SC, as a feeder club and affiliate of FC Dallas, is not eligible to enter the US Open Cup.
2020 US Open Cup Schedule
Jan. 9 – Pairings methodology, Open Division berth allocation announced
Jan. 22 – First Round pairings announced
Jan. 29 – Second Round pairings and possible pairings announced
March 24-25 – First Round (Open Division teams enter)
– NTX Rayados
April 7-9 – Second Round (Division II and III teams enter)
– Fort Worth Vaqueros & Denton Diablos
April 10 – Third Round Draw
April 21-23 – Third Round (11 Division I teams enter)
– FC Dallas
April 24 – Round of 32 Draw
May 19-20 – Round of 32 (remaining 12 Division I teams enter)
May 21 – Round of 16 & Quarterfinal Draw
June 10 – Possible Round of 16
June 23-24 – Round of 16 or Quarterfinals
July 14-15 – Quarterfinals or Semifinals
Aug. 11-12 – Semifinals or Final
Sept. 22-24 – Possible Final
ESPN+ to Broadcast Matches
For the second consecutive year and as part of a four-year deal, ESPN+ will be the home for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The 2020 Final could take place as late as Sept. 24.
Local Qualifiers (12)
East Region: Christos FC (Md.), New York Pancyprian Freedoms (N.Y.), Vereinigung Erzgebirge (Pa.), Virginia United (Va.)
Central Region: Louisiana Krewe FC (La.), Miami United FC U23 (Fla.), Nashville United (Tenn.), NTX Rayados (Texas)
West Region: Cal FC (Calif.), Chula Vista FC (Calif.), FC Boulder Harpos (Colo.), Olympic Club (Calif.)
Round of 32 (12): Atlanta United FC (defending Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion), D.C. United, Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC
Third Round (11): Chicago Fire FC, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, FC Cincinnati, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami CF, Nashville SC, Orlando City SC, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City