Major League Soccer announced today the pairings for Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying rounds, including a match-up between the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City to be played in April. The date and location of the match will be announced in the coming weeks.
Eight MLS teams are included in the Open Cup, with the six American clubs with the most points at the end of each season automatically qualifying for the following year's Open Cup. The remaining clubs play qualifying matches for the two remaining spots. With 10 American MLS teams attempting to qualify, the teams were split into two groups of five, geographically.
The higher-seeded team was given the option to choose heads or tails for the coin toss that determined the host city. The Dynamo won consecutive coin tosses and will host Sporting KC in April. If the Dynamo defeat Sporting KC, they will host either the New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, or D.C. United in May. The winner of that match would advance to the main Open Cup draw, with the tournament starting in June.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup enters its 98th year as the oldest annual soccer tournament in the United States. The knockout tournament is open to all clubs, whether professional or amateur. Since the inception of Major League Soccer in 1996, only one non-MLS club has ever won the title (Rochester Raging Rhinos, 1999). Houston reached the semifinals in 2006 and 2009 and the quarterfinals in 2010.
U.S. Open Cup qualifying pairings determined Monday (first team listed will host, seeding in parentheses):
Game A: (10) Portland Timbers vs. (8) Chivas USA
Game B: (9) D.C. United vs. (7) Philadelphia Union
Game C: (2) San Jose Earthquakes vs. Game A winner
Game D: Game B winner vs. (6) New England Revolution
Game E: (4) Chicago Fire vs. (1) Colorado Rapids
Game F: (5) Houston Dynamo vs. (3) Sporting Kansas City
Game G: Game C winner vs. Game E winner
Game H: Game F winner vs. Game D winner