Restructured Competition Format for 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Provides Opportunity for More “David vs. Goliath” Matchups in 107th Edition of U.S. Soccer’s National Championship

Restructured Competition to See Significantly More Games Between Division I and Lower Division Clubs; Nearly Half of Major League Soccer Teams to Enter in Third Round; Tournament Kicks Off March 24 for Earliest Start in Modern Era to Accommodate Expanded Calendar

CHICAGO (Dec. 12, 2019) – In the first major restructuring of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup since 2012, the U.S. Soccer Open Cup Committee ratified an updated competition format and expanded the tournament calendar for 2020. 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.

Revised Competition Format


In a significant move, the competition format for 2020 will require 11 Division I clubs from Major League Soccer (MLS) to enter in the Third Round, one round earlier than in recent years.

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 see their inaugural action in the First Round.


The remaining 12 MLS clubs, which will include 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, will enter in the Round of 32 (previously labeled the Fourth Round).


The format revision consequently 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 (from 11 in 2019) for up to 20 lower division clubs to reach the Round of 32. The 2019 tournament saw 11 “David vs. Goliath” matchups involving MLS sides over the first four rounds, while 2020 will have the same number of 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.

Expanded Competition Calendar


Beyond the revised format, the Committee also ratified the 2020 competition schedule, with the First Round set for March 24-25, 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.

2020 First Round Clubs


The 12 winners from the Nov. 23-24 third qualifying round will be joined in the tournament's First Round by Newtown Pride FC (Newtown, Conn.), the 2019 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion, as well as 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 2019) for qualifying teams for the 2020 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, 2019 and announced in early January 2020.

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.

2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition 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)

April 7-9           Second Round (Division II and III teams enter)

April 10             Third Round Draw

April 21-23        Third Round (11 Division I teams enter)

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

2020 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 (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

Teams entering in the 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

 

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

 

Open Division Teams, entering in First Round:

 

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.)

* Participated in 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup


2019 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion:
Newtown Pride FC (Conn.)

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 2019 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2020 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 2019 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2020 tournament.

About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup


In its 107th year, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer's National Championship – is the only high-profile competition in American team sports where amateur sides can face professionals in meaningful competition. The history-filled tournament, conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer, has crowned a champion annually since 1914. In 1999, the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest continuously running open soccer tournament was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.


The 2020 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League and have its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy – one of the oldest nationally-contested trophies in American team sports – now on permanent display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. The runner-up will earn $100,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will take home a $25,000 cash prize.


Atlanta United FC is the defending Open Cup champion, having earned the club's first tournament title thanks to a 2-1 victory against Minnesota United FC on Aug. 27, 2019, in front of an Open Cup Final record 35,709 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

usopencup.com is the official website of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Fans can also follow the competition on Twitter and Instagram @OpenCup and Facebook @OfficialOpenCup.