Record-Setting 103 Teams Confirmed For 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, 107th Edition Of U.S. Soccer’s National ChampionshipModern-Era Record Number of Pro Teams to Take Part; Thirty-Two Slots Allocated to Open Division Sides; Geographically-Based Random Draw Will Determine Third Round Matchups When MLS Teams Enter; Tournament Kicks Off March 22
CHICAGO (Jan. 25, 2022) – U.S. Soccer has confirmed a modern-era record 103 clubs for participation in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship. The process for determining matchups for the tournament has also been confirmed.
The 107th edition of the history-filled annual tournament kicks off March 22 with a record number of pro teams joining the country’s best amateur sides to compete for the most important trophy offered by U.S. Soccer to its member clubs.
Modern-Era Record 103 Teams to Compete, Boosted by Record Number of Pro Clubs
One hundred and three teams will take part in the 2022 Open Cup, an increase of 19 from 2019, the last year the tournament was held. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 2022 edition sets a modern-era (1995-present) record with 103 teams, eclipsing the previous high of 99 set in 2017.
Growth in the three professional divisions over the last five years is a primary driver of the record number of competitors as a combined 71 Division I, II and III teams will battle against Open Division clubs and each other for U.S. Soccer’s National Championship. The previous high was 52 pro clubs in 2019.
Division III accounts for most of the increase. USL League One has increased in size from six to 11 teams, and two leagues will play in the tournament for the first time - the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) enters 10 teams, while MLS NEXT Pro enters two teams.
Additionally, Division I Major League Soccer (MLS) has continued its expansion to 25 U.S.-based clubs. The Division II USL Championship enters 23 teams.
Slot Allocation Determined for NPSL, USL League Two Teams
The Open Cup Committee confirmed allocating 10 slots each to National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and USL League Two (USLL2) squads. Both leagues entered their teams via the Open Division National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations, opting to use 2021 league results to determine their 2022 qualifiers.
Combining with the 11 teams that survived last fall’s local qualifying rounds, along with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association’s 2021 National Amateur Cup champion (an automatic qualifier), a total of 32 Open Division clubs will participate, all entering in the First Round March 22-23.
Method for Determining Matchups for Each Round
Matchups throughout the tournament will be determined largely as they have in the past with the exception of the Third Round. With more than two-thirds of participating MLS clubs entering at this stage (one round earlier than in previous years), the 48 Third Round participants will be pooled geographically into groups of four or six teams each, with the 31 Second Round winners and 17 Division I clubs distributed as evenly as possible among the groups.
From there, a random draw scheduled for April 8 will determine the pairings within each group, with all Division I sides paired to face a Second Round winner and not another Division I club. Any teams who are prohibited from playing each other until the Final per tournament regulations (see list below) will be placed in different groups. Instances where a logical geographic fit doesn’t exist to determine groups will be resolved by random selection. Pools will be re-created from scratch for subsequent draws.
First and Second Round Matchups to be Announced Across Next Two Weeks
U.S. Soccer will announce the First Round matchups later this week and Second Round pairings and possible pairings one week later.
The Second Round will set a modern-era record for most matches played in a single round (31) in the tournament proper, surpassing the 28 played in 2017’s First Round.
Watch U.S. Open Cup Matches on ESPN+
In the final part of a four-year deal, ESPN+ will be the home for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. A broadcast schedule will be confirmed at a later date.
- Each round will be conducted in a single-game-knockout format, with matches that are tied after 90 minutes of regulation time proceeding to a full 30 minutes of extra time. If still tied after 120 minutes, the advancing team will be determined by kicks from the penalty spot.
- Home teams will be determined by random selection among those who apply to host. Clubs whose venue meets minimum tournament standards will be given priority.
- The Open Cup Committee has determined three pairs of teams that are not permitted to be matched against each other throughout the tournament (e.g. an Open Division team and a parent professional club, a team who receives material technical support from another club, teams with shared ownership) except in the unlikely event that both sides reach the Final. These pairings are Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (USL League One) and Park City Red Wolves SC (USL League Two), Las Vegas Lights (USL Championship) and Los Angeles FC (MLS) and Portland Timbers (MLS) and Portland Timbers U23 (USL League Two).
- Professional teams who are majority-owned or otherwise controlled by higher division professional clubs are expressly excluded from Open Cup competition. For 2022, there are 21 such teams. From USL Championship (four): Atlanta United 2, LA Galaxy II, Loudoun United FC, New York Red Bulls II. From MLS NEXT Pro, a new Division III league starting in 2022, only two clubs are eligible to participate (17 other U.S.-based sides are owned by MLS teams participating in the 2022 tournament). Rochester NY FC is an independent club participating in MLS NEXT Pro, while the team operated by St. Louis CITY SC is eligible for the U.S. Open Cup because the club’s Division I team does not debut until the 2023 season.
- In a new competition policy, if a match has kicked off and is terminated prior to the end of the first half or is otherwise tied at the time of termination and the termination is not due to the conduct of one of the teams, the match shall be restarted at the point of termination if restarted within two days of the original match date (games are required to be rescheduled for the next day unless mitigating circumstances prevent this). Otherwise, the match shall be replayed in its entirety if the rescheduled date is three or more days following the original match date.
- The 2022 U.S. Open Cup will allow five normal substitutions in regulation, with one normal substitution added in extra time. Substitutions must be made at halftime or in three windows during regulation. For matches that advance to extra time, substitutions can be made before the first extra time period, at halftime of extra time, or during an additional normal substitution window that becomes available during extra time.
- The 2022 U.S. Open Cup will also be taking part in the concussion substitution trial, allowing teams up to two concussion substitutes and two concussion substitution windows. When a concussion substitute is used, the opponent will receive an additional substitute and additional substitution window.
2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition Schedule
|March 22-23||First Round (Open Division teams enter)|
|April 5-7||Second Round (Division II and III teams enter)|
|April 8||Third Round Draw|
|April 19-21||Third Round (17 lower-seeded Division I teams enter)|
|April 22||Round of 32 Draw (Eight higher-seeded Division I teams enter)|
|May 10-11||Round of 32|
|May 12||Round of 16/Quarterfinal draw|
|May 24-25||Round of 16|
|Sept 6, 7, 13 or 14||Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final|
2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round-by-Round Competition Format and Pairings Methodology
- A team playing its first Open Cup match cannot be paired against another club from the same qualifying pool also playing its first Open Cup match (an exception to this restriction will be made in the First Round in the interest of avoiding extensive travel for Open Division teams).
- If three or more teams/pairings are from the same proximity, pairings for these teams will be made by random selection. Instances where a logical geographic fit doesn’t exist will be resolved by random selection.
- Pairings will be arranged to exclude the possibility of a team being matched up with a parent club, a club with common ownership or a team from whom material technical support is obtained, except in the event that both teams in a prohibited pairing reach the Final. If pairings in a given round are determined via random selection (as opposed to being matched up geographically), the teams excluded from facing each other will be entered into separate pools prior to selection.
First Round (March 22-23)
- Number of Games: 16
- Participants: 32 Open Division teams (11 local qualifiers, one USASA Amateur Cup champion, 10 NPSL, 10 USL League Two)
- Pairings Format: Teams will be paired geographically against clubs from other qualifying pools
Second Round (April 5-7)
- Number of Games: 31
- Participants (62): 16 First Round winners, 23 Division III teams (Two MLS NEXT Pro, 10 NISA, 11 USL League One), 23 Division II clubs (USL Championship)
- Pairings Format: After the First Round pairings are made, each First Round pairing will be matched geographically to a specific Division III or Division II team. The remaining Division III and Division II sides will be paired to play each other (avoiding any remaining Division III clubs from playing other Division III sides and any remaining Division II clubs from playing other Division II sides), with these pairings also made geographically.
Third Round Draw (April 8)
- Participants (48): 31 Second Round winners, 17 lower-seeded Division I clubs (MLS)
- After completion of the Second Round, the teams in the Third Round will be pooled geographically into groups of either four or six (depending on geographic distribution), with the Division I clubs distributed as evenly as possible among the groups. All Division I sides will be drawn to face a Second Round winner and not another Division I club. Any teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final will be placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group. Instances where a logical geographic fit doesn’t exist to determine the groups will be resolved by random selection.
Third Round (April 19-21)
- Number of Games: 24
Round of 32 Draw (April 22)
- Participants: 24 Third Round winners, eight higher-seeded Division I clubs (MLS)
- After completion of the Third Round, the teams in the Round of 32 will be pooled geographically into groups of four, with the Division I clubs first entering the competition and any teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final being placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group. Instances where a logical geographic fit doesn’t exist in determining the groups will be resolved by random selection.
Round of 32 (May 10-11)
- Number of Games: 16
Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw (May 21)
- The Round of 32 winners will be pooled geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final being placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group.
Round of 16 (May 24-25)
- Round of 32 winners face each other as determined by the Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw
Quarterfinal Round (June 21-22)
- Round of 16 winners face each other as determined by the Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw
Draw to Determine Hosts for Semifinals and Final (June 23)
- The four Quarterfinal Round winners will be paired geographically to determine the pairings for the Semifinal Round. Should two teams precluded from playing each other until the Final reach the Semifinal Round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn to avoid this outcome.
Semifinal Round (July 26-27)
Final (Sept. 6, 7, 13 or 14)
2022 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 (8): Colorado Rapids, Nashville SC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City
Teams entering in the Third Round (17): Atlanta United FC, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, Chicago Fire FC, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Cincinnati, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo FC, Inter Miami CF, Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes
Division II – USL Championship (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)
Teams entering in the Second Round (23): Birmingham Legion FC, Charleston Battery, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Detroit City FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, Hartford Athletic, Indy Eleven, Las Vegas Lights FC, Louisville City FC, Memphis 901 FC, The Miami FC, Monterey Bay FC, New Mexico United, Oakland Roots, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Rio Grande Valley FC, Sacramento Republic FC, San Antonio FC, San Diego Loyal SC, Tampa Bay Rowdies, FC Tulsa
Division III – MLS NEXT Pro (excludes teams majority-owned or otherwise controlled by a higher division professional club)
Teams entering in the Second Round (2): Rochester NY FC, St. Louis
Division III – National Independent Soccer Association
Teams entering in the Second Round (10): AC Syracuse Pulse, ALBION San Diego, Bay Cities FC, Cal United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, Flower City Union, Los Angeles Force, Maryland Bobcats, Michigan Stars FC, Valley United FC
Division III – USL League One
Teams entering in the Second Round (11): Central Valley Fuego, Charlotte Independence, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, Forward Madison FC, Greenville Triumph SC, North Carolina FC, Northern Colorado Hailstorm, Richmond Kickers, South Georgia Tormenta FC, FC Tuscon, Union Omaha
Open Division Teams, entering in First Round:
Local Qualifiers (11):
East Region: Brockton FC United (Mass.), Lynchburg FC (Va.), Nova FC (Va.), Oyster Bay United FC (N.Y.)
Southeast Region: City Soccer FC (Fla.), Orlando FC Wolves (Fla.)
Central Region: Azteca FC (Colo.), D'Feeters Kicks Soccer Club (Texas)
West Region: Contra Costa FC (Calif.), Escondido FC (Calif.), San Fernando Valley FC (Calif.)
2021 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion: Lansdowne Yonkers FC (N.Y.)
National Premier Soccer League
Teams entering in the First Round (10): Cleveland SC, Denton Diablos FC, FC Motown, Georgia Revolution FC, Hartford City FC, Las Vegas Legends, Miami United FC, Minneapolis City SC, Southern States Soccer Club, Tulsa Athletic
The NPSL entered its teams via the National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations, opting to use 2021 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2022 tournament.
USL League Two
Teams entering in the First Round (10): Chicago FC United, Des Moines Menace, NC Fusion U23, Ocean City Nor’easters, Park City Red Wolves SC, Portland Timbers U23, South Carolina United FC, The Villages SC, West Chester United SC, Western Mass Pioneers
USL League Two entered its teams via the National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations, opting to use 2021 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2022 tournament.
About the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
In its 107th edition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer's National Championship – has crowned a champion since 1914 in every year except 2020 and 2021. The history-filled tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. 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 2022 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2023 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.