2011 US Open Cup Structure Released, No Major Changes

2011 US Open Cup Structure Released, No Major Changes

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 17, 2011
  • 2011 US Open Cup, Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

The wait is over for those interested in what will happen to the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Today the USSF released details on the structure of the tournament and the schedule for each round.

The 98th edition of the USOC will get underway on June 14 with 16 first-round games. Five rounds of play precede the Oct. 4 final that will decide the U.S. Soccer national club championship.

The more than 155 teams that entered the competition beginning in the initial stages will be narrowed to 40 teams for the tournament proper by the May 30 qualifying deadline. In 2011, 19 professional teams – including eight from Major League Soccer – and 21 amateur teams will make up the field.

The first and second rounds will be made up of exclusively lower division and amateur teams and will be played on June 14 and June 21, respectively, with eight teams advancing to play eight MLS teams on June 28 in the third round.

I have to say I am a little disappointed in the fact that the structure is relatively the same as before. I’d much rather see the tournament no be started so late in the year for MLS clubs either and the play-in rounds for the MLS teams still bothers me. I’d rather see all the eligible MLS clubs be able to be in the tournament all at one.

I really felt this could have been the year that the USSF could have made some major changes to make this tournament into something great. Instead the structure remains largely intact from previous years and even though the five eligible NASL clubs aren’t in the mix this year, we still have very few chances to see the real little guys take on the big guns in the MLS.

I’d imagine teams like the Seattle Sounders FC, D.C. United and a couple other MLS teams will continue to take this seriously here. A structure change could have helped get more MLS clubs eager to do well in this tournament.


2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule

May 30: Qualifying Deadline
June 14: First Round (32 teams from USL PRO and Amateur Division)
June 21: Second Round (First round winners)
June 28: Third Round (Second round winners paired against eight MLS teams)
July 12: Quarterfinals
Aug. 30: Semifinals
Oct. 4: Final

Participating Teams

Major League Soccer (Division I – 8 teams): Six automatic qualifiers based on the 2010 regular season standings and two qualifiers from a play-in competition that features 10 teams.

Automatic Qualifiers (6 berths): Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders

Play-in Qualifiers (2 berths): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City

United Soccer Leagues PRO (Division III – 11 teams): All U.S.-based clubs automatically qualify.

Automatic Qualifiers (11 berths): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, FC New York, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Wilmington Hammerheads

United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (Amateur – 9 teams): The top U.S.-based clu b from each of nine PDL divisions will qualify based on the results of four pre-selected 2011 regular season games. Each of the 54 teams eligible will play two home and two away matches that will serve as qualifiers.

U.S. Adult Soccer Association (Amateur – 8 teams): The first and second place teams from each of the four U.S. Soccer regions will advance to the tournament. Approximately 50 teams entered qualifying at the local or state level.

National Premier Soccer League (Amateur – 4 teams): The process for determining NPSL qualifying teams will be announced in the coming weeks. The 36-team national amateur league is affiliated with the USASA. In previous years its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.