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Guide to the U.S. Open Cup

By Eira Castillo, 05/15/19, 3:30PM PDT


A look at this historic tournament.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer tournament in the country, with the 2019 edition being the 106th installment of this historic tournament. The tournament, which is named after soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt, is open to all professional and amateur teams that are affiliated with U.S. Soccer. Every match this tournament will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Tournament Format

USL Championship and MLS teams get a bye in the First Round, as open division and USL League 1 teams faced off earlier this month. USL Championship clubs enter in the Second Round, while MLS teams enter in the Fourth Round. This year, there are 84 teams, with 32 open division teams and 52 professional teams. All 52 professional teams come from three different divisions: Division I – 21 MLS clubs; Division II – 25 USL Championship clubs; and Division III – six USL League 1 clubs.

Every round is a single-game knockout format. If a match ends tied at the end of regulation time, the two sides will head to 30 minutes of extra time. If the match is still tied, the winner will be decided in a penalty shootout. 

Note: 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.

What’s at Stake

Aside from having their name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy, the winner of the U.S. Open Cup also comes away with $300,000 in prize money and a berth in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League. The runner-up will receive $100,000, while the best performing club in each lower division will also earn $25,000. Last year the USL Championship club that took home that bonus was Louisville City FC

Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup

The last two seasons the Indomitable Club has made its deepest run in the tournament, reaching the Round of 16, taking down Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both of those seasons ended with defeats at the hands of LA-based MLS clubs, with Republic FC falling to LA Galaxy in 2017 and to LAFC in 2018.

Sacramento is still undefeated in the U.S. Open Cup against Reno 1868 FC, booting out the Nevada side in 2017 at Papa Murphy’s Park and in 2018 at Greater Nevada Field. If Republic FC is to advance tonight against 1868 FC, they would host Fresno FC on May 29.


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