(U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee will evaluate the possibility of conducting a competition later in the year.)
The 2021 edition had already been modified twice. Instead of the 100 teams entered in 2020, just 24 teams were scheduled to take part in the 2021 tournament, its 107th edition. Then the opening round was cancelled, reducing the field to 16 teams:
-- Eight from MLS (the eight top U.S. teams in the overall standings after the first three weeks of the regular season;
-- Four from the USL Championship (El Paso Locomotive, Louisville City, Phoenix Rising, Tampa Bay Rowdies, the 2020 playoff semifinalists);
-- 2020 USL League One champion Greenville Triumph;
-- 2020 NISA fall champion Detroit City FC;
-- One Open Division local qualifier (drawn at random); and
-- 2019 U.S. Adult Amateur Cup champion Newtown Pride.
The decision to cancel the tournament is not unexpected. As part of its plans for 2021, the Open Cup Committee set deadlines to go forward, first with a 24-team tournament and then whether to proceed at all. The second deadline was Monday. The round of 16 was slated to start on May 18-19.
TheCup.us, a primary source for Open Cup coverage for years, reported on April 1 that the United States Adult Soccer Association recommend that the 2021 Open Cup be cancelled due to the costs of pandemic-related travel protocols (travel by bus or charter, no commercial flights, individual hotel rooms, no doubles, and three days of COVID-19 testing beginning 48 hours before the game).