US Open Cup

PRIMER: Familiarize yourself with the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

USOC Trophy Dempsey

Ahead of the Seattle Sounders’ fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match against the Portland Timbers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. PT; SoundersFC.com, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS), refresh yourself with the frequently asked questions about the tournament.



What is the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup?


The Open Cup is the longest-running national soccer competition in the United States with the 2017 tournament the 104th edition. It was first played during the 1913-14 season as the National Challenge Cup before taking its current name in 1999. The tournament is single elimination and runs from May to September.


Who is eligible to play?


The Open Cup consists of teams from Major League Soccer (MLS), the United Soccer League (USL) and the North American Soccer League (NASL), as well as amateur clubs that have qualified to participate. Amateur teams begin in the opening round before USL and NASL teams join in the second round. MLS teams receive byes until the fourth round. Click here to see the full fourth-round schedule.


What do you get for winning?


The most significant reward is automatic qualification for the following year’s CONCACAF Champions League. The champion also receives $250,000 in prize money. Second place receives $60,000 while the two teams from the two lower divisions that go the farthest in the tournament receive $15,000 apiece.


How many times have the Sounders won?


Seattle has won four times: three consecutive years from 2009-11 and then again in ’14.


Who has the most titles?


Maccabbi Los Angeles (California) and Bethlehem Steel (Pennsylvania) are tied with five championships each. The Sounders are tied for second with four titles with the Chicago Fire, Fall River Marksmen (Massachusetts), Greek American AA (New York) and Philadelphia Ukrainians (Pennsylvania).


Who won last year?


FC Dallas defeated the New England Revolution in the 2016 Open Cup Final.


How has MLS fared in the Open Cup?


Since MLS began in 1996, only one non-MLS team has won the Open Cup when the Rochester Rhinos defeated the Colorado Rapids in 1999.


Can lower-division teams owned by higher-division clubs participate?


No, the Open Cup committee implemented this rule in 2016. Therefore, Seattle Sounders FC 2 is not eligible to compete.


How are matchups decided when MLS clubs are introduced?


The Open Cup committee uses a random draw based on geography to pair MLS clubs with advancing lower-level sides.


How is the home venue selected?


Home venues are selected by a coin flip all the way to the final. Until 2011, U.S. Soccer used sealed bids, allowing teams to outbid each other for the right to host.

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