U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday the format for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the 104th edition of the prestigious club tournament.
This year’s competition features a modern era record 99 teams in a tiered-bracket, single-game knockout format. Following suit from the previous two years, clubs will be paired geographically from the First Round through the Fourth Round. After the Fourth Round, a geographically-based random draw will determine the Round of 16 matchups and set a fixed bracket to the final, which is scheduled for Sept. 20.
Sporting Kansas City — winners of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2004, 2012 and 2015 — will enter this year’s competition in the Fourth Round, as will 18 other U.S.-based MLS teams.
The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion will receive $250,000 as well as a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League. The winner will also hoist the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in U.S. team sports. This year’s runner-up will take him $60,000, and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will receive $15,000.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup serves as U.S. Soccer’s national club championship and is open to all amateur and professional teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 103 straight years dating back to 1914.
2017 Tournament Format, Schedule and Key Dates
Initial Pairings Announcement – April 12
First Round games as well as Second Round possibilities announced.
First Round – May 10
- Number of Games: 28
- Participants: 56 Open Division teams
- Competition: Teams will be paired geographically with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool (e.g. local qualifiers, PDL, NPSL) cannot be paired to play each other.
Second Round – May 17
- Number of Games: 26
- Participants: Winners of 28 First Round games are joined by 24 Division II clubs (6 from NASL, 18 from USL).
- Competition: At the time the First Round pairings are made, each Division II team will be matched geographically to a specific First Round pairing and be scheduled to play its winner. The remaining First Round matchups not paired with a Division II side will be paired geographically, with the winners playing each other to complete the round.
Third Round – May 31
- Number of Games: 13
- Participants: Winners of 26 Second Round games will play each other.
- Competition: After each Second Round matchup has been determined, the Second Round pairs will be bracketed geographically to create the Third Round matchups.
Fourth Round – June 14
- Number of Games: 16
- Participants: Winners from 13 Third Round games are joined by 19 MLS clubs.
- Competition: After each Third Round matchup has been determined, 13 of 19 MLS teams will be paired geographically to a specific Third Round matchup and be scheduled to play these winners, while the remaining six MLS teams will be paired up to complete the bracket.
Round of 16 Draw – June 15
The Fourth Round winners will be divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final per tournament regulations (i.e. pro teams and their affiliated Open Division sides) placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group, resulting in a fixed bracket for the remainder of the tournament. Should a precluded pair of teams reach the Semifinal Round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn after the quarterfinals to avoid this outcome.
Round of 16 – June 28
- Number of Games: 8
- Fourth Round winners face each other as determined by the Round of 16 Draw.
Quarterfinals – July 11^
Semifinals – Aug. 9
Final – Sept. 20
Any game in the Fourth Round, Round of 16 and Semifinal Round where one of the participants has a league game the following Friday will be moved up a day (exception to this is when the team’s opponent is scheduled for a league game the preceding Sunday; in this case, the provisions in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Handbook to determine the match date will prevail). In addition, any game chosen by U.S. Soccer to be broadcast nationally is subject to being moved up a day.
^ For the Quarterfinal Round, teams may apply to change the match date within a window that runs between July 7-16 if both teams in a match are not scheduled otherwise.
2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participating Teams
Division I and II Professional Teams Eligible to Participate (43 total):
Division I (19 teams, entering in the Fourth Round) - Major League Soccer: Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City
Division II (24 teams, entering in the Second Round) - North American Soccer League (6): Indy Eleven, Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC, New York Cosmos, North Carolina FC (formerly Carolina RailHawks), San Francisco Deltas; United Soccer League (18 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, FC Cincinnati, Harrisburg City Islanders, Louisville City FC, OKC Energy FC, Orange County SC (formerly Orange County Blues), Phoenix Rising FC (formerly Arizona United), Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Reno 1868 FC, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Sacramento Republic FC, Saint Louis FC, San Antonio FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Open Division Teams (56 total, all entering in the First Round):
Local Qualifiers (17 places, listed alphabetically by state): California (6): Chula Vista FC, El Farolito, La Máquina, LA Wolves FC, Moreno Valley Fútbol Club, Outbreak FC; Colorado (2): Azteca FC, Colorado Rush; Florida (2): Boca Raton Football Club, Red Force FC; Maryland (1): Christos FC; Massachusetts (1): GPS Omens; Nevada (1): Anahuac FC; New Jersey (1): FC Motown; Pennsylvania (2): Junior Lone Star FC, Tartan Devils Oak Avalon; Texas (1): NTX Rayados
Premier Development League (21 places): Division Winners: Charlotte Eagles* (N.C.), Des Moines Menace* (Iowa), FC Tucson* (Ariz.), Fresno Fuego (Calif.), GPS Portland Phoenix* (Maine), Michigan Bucks, OKC Energy U23 (Okla.), Reading United AC (Pa.), The Villages SC* (Fla.); At-Large Berths: Burlingame Dragons* (Calif.), Carolina Dynamo* (N.C.), Chicago FC United (formerly Chicago Fire U-23), Derby City Rovers (Ky.), FC Golden State Force (Calif.), Ocean City Nor’easters (N.J.), San Diego Zest (Calif.), SC United Bantams (S.C.), Sounders FC U-23* (Wash.), South Florida Surf, Ventura County Fusion* (Calif.), Western Mass Pioneers. The PDL is a nationwide league affiliated with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and opted to use 2016 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2017 Open Cup.
National Premier Soccer League (18 places): Qualified via 2016 NPSL playoffs: AFC Cleveland* (Ohio), Albion SC Pros (Calif.), Chattanooga FC* (Tenn.), Clarkstown SC Eagles* (N.Y.), Grand Rapids FC (Mich.), Miami United FC (Fla.), New Jersey Copa FC (N.J.), Sonoma County Sol (Calif.); At-Large Berths: AFC Ann Arbor (Mich.), Atlanta Silverbacks, Boston City FC (Mass.), Dutch Lions FC (Texas), FC Wichita (Kan.), Fredericksburg FC* (Va.), Jacksonville Armada U-23 (Fla.), Legacy 76 (Va.), OSA FC (Wash.) Tulsa Athletics (Okla). The NPSL is a nationwide league affiliated with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and opted to use 2016 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2017 Open Cup.
* Participated in 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup