U.S. Soccer announces 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup format and schedule

The Houston Dynamo will begin their quest to defend the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in June as they join 20 MLS teams in the Fourth Round of the 106th edition of the tournament, U.S. Soccer announced earlier today.

The Dynamo is the defending Open Cup champion, having earned the club's first tournament title with a 3-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 26, 2018, at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The 2019 tournament kicks off May 7-8 with 19 First Round games and features a total of 84 teams from all levels, culminating in August with America’s soccer champion lifting the Open Cup trophy after eight rounds of single-elimination play.

A total of 32 Open Division squads (clubs from the National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two, those advancing from four rounds of local qualifying played between September 2018 and April 2019, and the 2018 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion Bavarian SC from Milwaukee, Wis.) will enter First Round action in early May. They will be joined by the six eligible members of the newly-sanctioned Division III professional circuit, USL League One.

Twenty-five teams from the newly-renamed professional Division II USL Championship (formerly the United Soccer League) will take the field starting in the Second Round on May 14-15.

The Third Round takes place on May 29, and its winners will be joined by the 21 U.S.-based Division I Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 12.

In another indication of the unprecedented growth of professional soccer in the United States, 52 pro teams – a modern-era record (1995 to present) – will play in this year’s competition. The previous record was 47, set in 2015.

The 2019 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League and have its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy – one of the oldest nationally-contested trophies in American team sports – now on display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. The runner-up will earn $100,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will take home a $25,000 cash prize.

2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule, Format and Other Key Dates:

Fourth Qualifying Round – April 6 & 7

First Round Pairings Announced – April 10

Second Round Pairings & Possible Pairings Announced – April 17

First Round – May 7 & 8*

  • Number of Games: 19
  • Participants: 32 Open Division teams and six Division III (USL League One) clubs
  • Competition: Teams will be paired geographically with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool (i.e. local qualifiers, NPSL, USL League Two, USL League One) cannot be paired to play each other. The restriction may be disregarded if doing so avoids extensive travel on balance for the participating teams.

Second Round – May 14 & 15*

  • Number of Games: 22
  • Participants: 19 First Round winners and 25 Division II (USL Championship) clubs
  • Competition: After the First Round pairings are made, each pairing will be matched geographically to a specific Division II team, with the First Round winner playing the assigned Division II side. The six remaining Division II squads will be paired to play each other, with these pairings also made geographically.

Third Round – May 29*

  • Number of Games: 11
  • Participants: 22 Second Round winners 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, with the Second Round winners playing each other.

Fourth Round Draw – May 30

  • The 11 Third Round winners and 21 Division I (Major League Soccer) clubs will be divided geographically into eight 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. Each group will have at least one and no more than two Third Round winners, with pairs drawn randomly but done so that each Third Round winner faces an MLS team.

Fourth Round – June 12*

  • Number of Games: 16
  • Participants: 11 Third Round winners and 21 Division I (MLS) clubs.
  • Competition: Eleven games will be between Third Round winners and MLS teams, while the remaining five matchups will be MLS vs. MLS affairs.

Round of 16 Draw – June 13

  • 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 Quarterfinal Round to avoid this outcome.

Round of 16 – June 19* (also June 18-23 if home team chooses and visiting team has at least three non-game days on each side of chosen date, with any overlap of U.S. MNT Gold Cup games on June 18 and June 22 disallowed)

  • Number of Games: 8
  • Competition: Fourth Round winners face each other as determined by the Round of 16 Draw.

Quarterfinals – July 10*

Draw to Determine Hosts for Semifinals and Final – July 11

Semifinals – August 7*

Final – August 27 or 28

* Any game from the Fourth Round through to the Semifinal Round where one of the participants has a league game the following Friday will be moved up a day (exception to this occurs when the team's opponent is scheduled for a league game the preceding Sunday; in this case, the provisions in the 2019 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 in any round is subject to being moved up a day. The Commissioner has the authority to set outside of the confirmed schedule the date for any match if such a change is in the best interests of the tournament.

2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participating Teams

Professional Division Teams Eligible to Participate (52 total):

Division I – Major League Soccer (21 teams, entering in the Fourth Round): Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, FC Cincinnati, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo (defending Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions), Los Angeles FC, 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 – USL Championship (25 teams, entering in the Second Round): Austin Bold FC, Birmingham Legion FC, Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, El Paso Locomotive FC, Fresno FC, Hartford Athletic, Indy Eleven, Las Vegas Lights FC, Louisville City FC, Memphis 901 FC, Nashville SC, New Mexico United, North Carolina FC, OKC Energy FC, Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Reno 1868 FC, Sacramento Republic FC, Saint Louis FC, San Antonio FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Tulsa Roughnecks FC

Division III – USL League One (6 teams, entering in the First Round): Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, Forward Madison FC, Greenville Triumph SC, Lansing Ignite FC, Richmond Kickers, South Georgia Tormenta FC