Given the explosion in the number of MLS teams, it no longer makes sense -- even if they wanted to -- to keep them all out of the U.S. Open Cup until the round of 32.
With 23 U.S. MLS
teams in 2020, that would make up seven head-to-head MLS matchups in their entry into the tournament.
There could still be seven head-to-head MLS matchups in the round of 32 in 2020, but
all MLS teams will have to get there first. The new competition format
will require 11 MLS teams to enter in the third round, one round earlier than in recent years:
San Jose Earthquakes
Sporting Kansas City
The other 12 MLS teams will begin play in the round of 32:
Los Angeles FC
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
Seattle Sounders For the
, the 11 MLS teams will be joined by 29 second-round winners, making for 20 matches. In all, 58 teams will be entered in the second round
. All teams from Division II
or Division III leagues -- USL Championship, USL League One and new NISA -- will start in the second round and be joined by the a number of first-round winners to be determined. The
first round will include the 12 winners
from the third qualifying round, plus Newtown Pride FC, the 2019 USASA Amateur Cup champion, as well as an undetermined number of clubs from the National
Premier Soccer League and USL League Two.
The number of berths allocated to the NPSL and USL League Two won't be known until after the pro team confirmation deadline on Dec. 31. In other moves:
-- The first round will be played March 24-25, the earliest start in the Open Cup's modern era, though it will present problems for amateur teams with college
players since they won't yet be eligible to play.
-- All rounds will take place at least two weeks apart, providing additional time for home teams to market and sell tickets and for
visiting clubs to arrange travel earlier at a lower cost. In 2019, only one week separated the first two rounds in May, as well as the rounds of 32 and 16 in June.
Datebook: 2020 U.S.
Open Cup March 24-25.
First Round (Open Division teams enter) April 7-9.
Second Round (Division II and III teams enter) April 21-23.
Third Round (11
Division I teams enter) May 19-20.
Round of 32 (remaining 12 Division I teams enter) June 10.
Possible Round of 16 June 23-24.
Round of 16 or Quarterfinals
Quarterfinals or Semifinals Aug. 11-12.
Semifinals or Final Sept. 22-24.