U.S. Soccer unveiled a revamped format for the 2020 U.S. Open Cup tournament on Thursday. Reflecting the rapidly growing professional ranks in the men’s game, from next year the tournament will be spread across the year more and MLS teams will enter in different spots.
Specifically, Los Angeles Football Club will enter in the fourth round, like MLS teams have done the past several years, but they will effectively receive a bye to start in that spot, by virtue of being one of the 12 teams that finished best during the 2019 MLS regular season. The remaining MLS teams will enter in the third round. The fourth round is set to take place in mid-May.
Lower-division professional sides, like local USL Championship outfit Orange County SC, will enter the competition in the second round, like they did in 2019. That round will kick off in early-April over a month before it happened this year.
The competition will begin in March, extending the Open Cup season by a couple months, and there will be at least two weeks between rounds, U.S. Soccer explaining they want to give teams a better chance to hype up games, sell tickets and make travel arrangements in adequate time. The final will take place in either August or September, the final rounds holding some flexibility over when the tournament will conclude.
We’ll hear more about the rest of the tournament entrants and details of the schedule over the coming months. But it’s an exciting time for the oldest continuous soccer competition in American soccer.
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