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2013 U.S. Open Cup Format Announced

It will be largely the same this year, with a few tweaks.

USOC: The format has been announced for this year.
USOC: The format has been announced for this year.

Today, U.S. Soccer announced the format and basic schedule surrounding the 2013 U.S. Open Cup. MLS clubs, including Chivas USA, will enter the tournament in the third round on May 28, against non-MLS opposition. In that respect, the format is pretty similar to last year's tourney. The overall schedule has been adjusted, however, so that the final is not in August, like it was last year, but will be held October 1st or 2nd, with at least five weeks off following the semifinal, which will be held sometime in August.

There are a couple changes to the tournament entrants and rules this year. 68 teams will compete in the tournament proper, and the prize money will increase. The winner will get $250.000 instead of $100,000, the runner-up will get $60,000 instead of $50,000, and the team from each lower division that progresses the farthest will receive $15,000 instead of $10,000.

The other major change is that the semifinal matches and final site locations will be determined by a coin flip instead of a bidding process, and all other matches' locations will be determined by "random selection." No word on the difference between a coin flip and random selection, but it has since been clarified that teams cannot pay opponents to get matches moved to their stadium this year in the tournament. Of course, that wasn't an issue for Chivas USA in the 2012 USOC since they were essentially forced to host their one and only home match of the tournament, and there's no reason to expect the team would be eager to host this year either (presumably since it costs money).

The Goats will open their 2013 USOC campaign between two MLS gameweeks. They play a road game against the Colorado Rapids May 25 (Saturday), then have their USOC game May 28 (Tuesday) against unknown opponent in unknown location, though it will almost certainly be against a Californian team in California. Then they have a home game against the Seattle Sounders June 1 (Saturday). You have to expect there will be some squad rotation over those three matches, but it is unclear if Chelís will be interested in competing in the Cup or not (he did make the Copa MX final last season with his previous club, if that's any indication). Considering Chivas have been semfinalists in the USOC two of the past three tournaments, and those cup runs have been a bright spot in an otherwise drab period in the team's history, hopefully the club will not just roll over on the tournament this year. We'll see.

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