After being forced to cancel the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in its history, U.S. Soccer plans to go ahead with the 107th edition of the U.S. cup competition but with major limitations.
Instead of the 100 teams entered in 2020, just 24 teams will take part in the 2021 competition: Enters in Opening Round (16 teams) ... USL Championship.
8 (24 eligible) USL League One.
2 (8 eligible) NISA.
2 (9 eligible) Open Division.
4 (36 eligible) Enters in Round of 16 (8 teams) ... MLS.
8 teams (24 eligible)
The Open Cup was played for 106 years without interruption -- through World War I and World War II -- before being halted without getting started in 2020 after the pandemic hit.
The U.S. Soccer decided it was inadvisable to play in March and April for safety reasons, and other conflicts -- the semifinal and final rounds of the 2021 Concacaf Champions League are scheduled for the fall, and MLS hopes to resume the Leagues Cup in 2021 -- made playing a full schedule impossible.
“In the end," said U.S. Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller
, "we all felt a shortened version for this year was the best format and we’re excited to have the opportunity to crown a champion after not being able to in 2020.”
There are still contingencies. The federation's Open Cup committee has set a deadline of March 29 to determine if the opening round can take place on May 4-5. If not, the opening round will be canceled and a deadline of April 19 set to determine whether the Open Cup can take place at all with the round of 16 on May 18-19.
The Open Cup committee has not yet announced the mechanism for determining which teams will take part in the 2021 competition. Waivers will be granted covering Open Cup rules related to a team's recent participation in its affiliated league or the deadline for the release of league schedules. U.S. Open Cup schedule: May 4-5
Opening Round May 18-19
Round of 16 May 25-26
Quarterfinals June 15-16
Semifinals June 29 or 30
Dates for confirming opening round and round of 16 are March 29 and April 19, respectively.