The U.S. Open Cup Committee has made an adjustment to the Open Cup Policy regarding team eligibility, forbidding any Outdoor Professional League Team whose player roster is managed by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team from participating in the tournament. As a result, the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, a hybrid affiliate of the Houston Dynamo, will not compete in the U.S. Open Cup. This addition broadens the ineligibility provision announced January 7 beyond ownership control.
“We respect the decision taken by the U.S. Open Cup Committee with regards to RGV FC not participating in the competition,” Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan said. “This ruling is consistent with how the Committee views other MLS operated USL teams and thus did not come as a surprise to us.”
The Dynamo manage all technical aspects of Rio Grande Valley FC, including the construction of the roster and coaching staff. As a result, competing in the U.S. Open Cup could result in a conflict of interest, with a possible matchup against the Dynamo being one example.
The same application of the rule applies to the seven other MLS-owned and operated USL clubs in the United States, including: LA Galaxy II, Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake), Portland Timbers 2, Seattle Sounders 2, Swope Park Rangers (Sporting Kansas City), New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B.
The pairings for First Round matches and Second Round possibilities will be announced on April 6.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer's National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 102 consecutive years dating from 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor American soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition Schedule
April 6: Initial Pairings Announcement
May 11: First Round (46 Open Division teams enter)
May 18: Second Round (17 USL teams and 2 Open Division squads enter)
June 1: Third Round (9 NASL teams enter)
June 15: Fourth Round (17 MLS teams enter)
June 16: Round of 16 Draw
June 29: Round of 16
July 20: Quarterfinals
Aug. 10: Semifinals
Sept. 21: Final