- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 9, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2012 US Open Cup, Features
A change is coming to the US Open Cup that many of us have been hoping for. According to sources to theCup.us, the USOC will extend it’s bracket out to all 16 US-based Major League Soccer teams and go to a 64-team bracket.
Over the last few years, the tournament has come under constant criticism for the way MLS teams enter the tournament. Previously only six teams would automatically qualify for the tournament based on their previous year’s finish in the standings. Two other teams would join them in the bracket once they went through the MLS qualifying round.
That will be no more once this is approved by all parties involved.
In addition to adding eight extra spots for MLS teams, it would also include the 16 U.S.-based teams in the NASL and USL-Pro.
The tournament would open in mid-May with 32 amateur teams producing 16 winners that would face the NASL and USL-Pro teams in Round 2. The winners of that round would then play the MLS teams in Round 3. The goal is to finish the tournament by August – a full month (or maybe even a month and a half) then it does now when it finishes in October. The hope is to avoid schedule issues for the MLS teams involved late in the year.
A lot could change though depending on whether or not the NASL receives sanctioning by the USSF. The NASL did not compete in the 2011 tournament, according to USSF, due to the fact that the 2011 format was already finalized prior to the NASL being awarded a one-year provisional sanctioning.
This is a positive step for this tournament that needed a facelift. Getting all US-based MLS teams involved in the main bracket is a big start and finishing the tournament earlier in the year is also a big plus.