CHICAGO (January 31, 2019) – U.S. Soccer has finalized the format and schedule for the 106th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer's National Championship. The 2019 tournament kicks off May 7-8 with 19 First Round games and features a total of 84 teams from all levels, culminating in August with America’s soccer champion lifting the Open Cup trophy after eight rounds of single-elimination play.
A total of 32 Open Division squads (clubs from the National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two, those advancing from four rounds of local qualifying played between September 2018 and April 2019, and the 2018 U.S. Adult Soccer Association National Amateur Cup champion Bavarian SC from Milwaukee, Wis.) will enter First Round action in early May. They will be joined by the six eligible members of the newly-sanctioned Division III professional circuit, USL League One.
Twenty-five teams from the newly-renamed professional Division II USL Championship (formerly the United Soccer League) will take the field starting in the Second Round on May 14-15.
The Third Round takes place on May 29, and its winners will be joined by the 21 U.S.-based Division I Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 12.
The Chicago Fire enter the competition as four-time champions of the historic tournament (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006) and claim a tournament-record 13 semifinal appearances, most recently in 2018.
In another indication of the unprecedented growth of professional soccer in the United States, 52 pro teams – a modern-era record (1995 to present) – will play in this year’s competition. The previous record was 47, set in 2015.
The 2019 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League and have its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy – one of the oldest nationally-contested trophies in American team sports – now on display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. The runner-up will earn $100,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will take home a $25,000 cash prize.
The Houston Dynamo is the defending Open Cup champion, having earned the club's first tournament title thanks to a 3-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 26, 2018, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Fourth Round – June 12* (MLS clubs enter)
Number of Games: 16
Participants: 11 Third Round winners and 21 Division I (MLS) clubs.
Competition: Eleven games will be between Third Round winners and MLS teams, while the remaining five matchups will be MLS vs. MLS affairs.
Round of 16 Draw: June 13
The Fourth Round winners will be divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final per tournament regulations (i.e. pro teams and their affiliated Open Division sides) placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group, resulting in a fixed bracket for the remainder of the tournament. Should a precluded pair of teams reach the Semifinal Round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn after the Quarterfinal Round to avoid this outcome.
Round of 16 – June 19*
- Also June 18-23 if home team chooses and visiting team has at least three non-game days on each side of chosen date, with any overlap of U.S. MNT Gold Cup games on June 18 and June 22 disallowed
Number of Games: 8
Competition: Fourth Round winners face each other as determined by the Round of 16 Draw.
Quarterfinals: July 10*
Draw to Determine Hosts for Semifinals and Final – July 11
Semifinals – August 7*
Final – August 27 or 28