U.S. announced a number of changes to the U.S. Open Cup in advance of the tournament’s 100th edition this year.
First off, the field has been increased to 68 teams (from 64) and prize money was also raised at all levels. The overall winner gets $250,000 (up from $100,000), the runner-up gets $60,000 (up from $50,000) and the top advancing team from each lower division gets $15,000 (up from $10,000).
Perhaps more important is the removal of closed-envelope bidding to host games in the later rounds. Bidding was removed through the quarterfinals last year, but now home teams for every round will be determined by random selection (e.g. coin flip).
That seemingly doesn’t eliminate the possibility of buying hosting rights, like Sounders FC did last year in a game with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. (UPDATE 12:54 p.m. — Here’s a report saying U.S. Soccer will not allowing the sale of hosting rights between teams)
There was no indication the selection process would be made public.
This will be the second-straight year all the top tier teams in the U.S. will participate in the tournaments proper (16 MLS, 6 NASL and 12 USL PRO).
The qualifying deadline for the tournament is April 28, the first games start in the play-in round on May 7 and the final will take place on Oct. 1 or 2. The Sounders will open in the third round on May 28. The Sounders FC U-23s, last year’s Northwest Division champ in the PDL, enter in the first round on May 14.
More notes from the U.S. Soccer press release, plus a schedule and a breakdown of how the 68 teams will be allocated after the jump.
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2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Facts:
- Largest field of teams (68) in tournament proper in competition’s modern era (1995-present), eclipsing previous record of 64 (2012)
- Second consecutive year in modern era where all U.S.-based Division I, II and III professional clubs will participate in tournament proper
- Home teams through entire tournament to be determined by random selection (change from sealed bid process for semifinals and final)
- Largest field of professional teams (34) in tournament proper in competition’s modern era, eclipsing previous record of 32 (2012)
- Largest field of amateur teams (34) in tournament proper in competition’s modern era, surpassing previous record of 32 (2012).
Tournament Format and Match Dates:
Date: April 28
Number of Games: 2
Date: May 7
One NPSL team will take on the US Club Soccer representative, while a second NPSL team faces the USSSA representative.
Number of Games: 18
Date: May 14
Two winners from Play-In Round join remaining 30 Adult Council category teams and four USL PRO teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and expansion sides Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 21
Eighteen (18) winners from First Round join remaining eight USL PRO clubs and six NASL teams.
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 28
Sixteen (16) winners from Second Round are paired against 16 MLS sides.
Number of Games: 8
Date: June 12
Sixteen (16) winners from Third Round face each other.
Date: June 26
Fourth Round winners face each other.
Date: Aug. 7 or 21
Quarterfinal winners face each other.
Date: Oct. 1 or 2
Participating Professional Teams (34 total )
Major League Soccer (Division I – 16 teams): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City.
North American Soccer League (Division II – 6 teams): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota Stars FC, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies.
USL PRO (Division III – 12 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Phoenix FC Wolves, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, VSI Tampa Bay FC, Wilmington Hammerheads.
Distribution of Amateur-Level Places (34 total):
U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers - 8 places: Four USASA regional qualifiers advanced to the second round in 2012, including Cinderella story Cal FC, who reached the fourth round.
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League - 16 places: The PDL will have the largest representation among amateur leagues. In 2012 the Michigan Bucks were the lone PDL team to reach the fourth round.
National Premier Soccer League – 8 places: The NPSL is a national amateur league affiliated with the USASA. Prior to last year, its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.
US Club Soccer – 1 place: US Club Soccer is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. It was first represented in last year’s tournament.
U.S. Specialty Sports Association – 1 place: The USSSA is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. Its clubs will be participating for the first time in this year’s tournament.