The U.S. Open Cup is set for the earliest start in competition history since 1995.
U.S. Soccer announced a restructuring to the tournament Thursday that features an earlier entrance for a handful of Major League Soccer clubs and a schedule that is more spread out, with play beginning in March and concluding in late September.
In the third round, 11 MLS clubs will come into the competition, which is set to take place April 21-23. Previously, MLS clubs didn’t enter until the fourth round. Slotted into those third-round match-ups will be: Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Orlando City, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City and expansion sides Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC.
Concacaf Champions League participants Atlanta United, New York City FC, Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles FC headline the group of 12 clubs entering in the fourth round, which occurs May 19 and 20.
D.C. United, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake make their debuts in the new format in the round of 32, which was determined from the 2019 MLS standings.
Eligible squads from the USL Championship and USL League One will come into the U.S. Open Cup in the second round. As it was before, USL teams with direct affiliation to MLS sides are not eligible.
Every round of the 2020 U.S. Open Cup can be viewed on ESPN+, the network’s paid streaming service, and the date of the final is not set yet.
2020 U.S. Open Cup Schedule
- Jan. 22: First Round pairings announced
- Jan. 29: Second Round pairings and possible pairings announced
- March 24-25: First Round
- April 7-9: Second Round
- April 10: Third Round Draw
- April 21-23: Third Round
- April 24: Round of 32 Draw
- May 19-20: Round of 32
- May 21: Round of 16 & Quarterfinal Draw
- June 10: Possible Round of 16
- June 23-24: Round of 16 or Quarterfinals
- July 14-15: Quarterfinals or Semifinals
- August 11-12: Semifinals or Final
- September 22-24: Possible Final