As the new MLS Season has just gotten underway in 2013, there is another competition that will officially start on May 14th (but will have a playoff a week earlier). It will mark the start of the 100th edition of the U.S. Open Cup, a trophy dedicated to former Columbus, FC Dallas & Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt.
After a memorable 2012 season you would believe that 2013 will get better and so far the standards have remained the same. All professional sides from Major League Soccer, North American Soccer League and the USL Pro League will have automatic bids to enter the Cup.
The prize money though has changed to a positive level. The champions of this season’s cup tournament have been raised from $100,000 to $250,000, while the runners-up will receive $60,000 from $50,000. The lower level sides that go the furthest from each division raises to $15,000 from $10,000.
Of course the big uproar that happened last year was when the Seattle Sounders, who were suppose to travel to face the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL, bought the rights to play at Starfire Sports Complex. Well, the Open Cup Committee decided to leave no loophole for the 2013 tournament, and now it’s in writing.
Some other important information has come to the announcement of the 2013 format with a grand total of sixty-eight sides entering the tournament proper. The largest-ever field of professional sides will enter from Rounds 1 through 3. But the big change will be for the draw. Home teams through the entire tournament will be determined by random selection, which departs from the sealed bid process that was used in years past, and for the Semifinals and Final in 2012.
Here are the dates and descriptions of each round in the 100th edition of the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
MLS: (16 Sides) Chicago, Chivas-USA, Colorado, Columbus, DC United, FC Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Real Salt Lake, San Jose, Seattle, Sporting Kansas City
NASL: (6 Sides) Atlanta, Carolina Railhawks, Ft. Lauderdale, Minnesota United, San Antonio, Tampa Bay Rowdies
USL Pro: (12 Sides) Charleston, Charlotte, Dayton, Harrisburg, LA Blues, Orlando City, Phoenix Wolves, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Rochester, Tampa Bay Flames, Wilmington
Amateur: 16 PDL Sides, 8 USASA Sides, 8 NPSL Sides, 1 US Club Soccer Side & 1 IS Specialty Sports Association
Play-In Round: Tuesday, May 7th Two NPSL Sides. One faces a US Club Soccer side, while the other faces a USSSA side
Round 1 Proper: Tuesday, May 14th 18 games with all amateur sides and four USL Pro sides in Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the two expansion sides in Phoenix & Tampa Bay Flames
Round 2 Proper: Tuesday, May 21st 16 Games with Round 1 winners facing the NASL & the rest of the USL Pro League
Round 3 Proper: Tuesday, May 28th 16 Games with Round 2 winners facing sixteen MLS Sides
Round 4 Proper: Wednesday, June 12th 8 Games with Round 3 winners facing each other
Quarterfinals: Wednesday, June 26th 4 Games with Round 4 winners facing each other
Semi-Finals: Wednesday, August 7th or August 21st (If an MLS side is involved with the CONCACAF Champions League on August 7th, their semi-final match could be on the 21st)
US Open Cup Championship Final: Tuesday, October 1st or Wednesday, October 2nd