U.S. Open Cup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
RegionUnited States (CONCACAF)
Number of teams100 (2023)
Current championsHouston Dynamo FC (2nd title)
Most successful club(s)Bethlehem Steel F.C. and Maccabee Los Angeles (5 titles each)
2024 U.S. Open Cup

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, commonly known as the U.S. Open Cup (USOC), is a knockout cup competition in men's soccer in the United States of America. It is the country's oldest ongoing national soccer competition.[1] The competition was first held during the 1913–1914 season as the National Challenge Cup, with Brooklyn Field Club winning a trophy donated by Thomas Dewar for the promotion of American soccer.[2] It was renamed and dedicated to North American Soccer League (NASL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) executive Lamar Hunt by the United States Soccer Federation in 1999.

The 2022 U.S. Open Cup marked the return of the competition after the 2020 and 2021 tournaments were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ending 106 years of consecutive play.[3][4]

In its current format, the U.S Open Cup is contested by approximately 100 clubs from the professional leagues sanctioned by the United States Soccer FederationMajor League Soccer (MLS), the United Soccer League's Championship and League One divisions, the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), and MLS Next Pro – as well as amateur clubs in the earlier rounds of the tournament that qualify through their respective leagues. The overall champion is awarded $300,000 in prize money and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, while the runner-up receives $100,000, and the furthest-advancing team from each lower-division league receives $25,000.[5][6]

MLS teams have dominated the competition since the league began play in 1996. No lower division team has won the Open Cup since the Rochester Rhinos in 1999, and the most recent lower division team to reach the final was Sacramento Republic FC in 2022. The most recent champions of the competition, Houston Dynamo FC, won their second title after defeating Inter Miami CF in the 2023 final. From 1996 to 2023, MLS teams had participated in every Open Cup competition.

On December 15, 2023, MLS announced that affiliated reserve teams from MLS Next Pro would be sent in place of MLS teams for the 2024 edition. U.S. Soccer subsequently denied the request, ruling that MLS teams must compete in the 2024 edition of the U.S. Open Cup.


The competition is a single-elimination tournament that has been contested by at least 80 teams since the 2014 edition. This pool consists of the American clubs in the professional leagues, which are Major League Soccer, the league now known as the USL Championship, USL League One and National Independent Soccer Association as well as amateur teams from the Premier Development League (now USL League Two), National Premier Soccer League, the United States Adult Soccer Association, and US Club Soccer.[7] The qualifying rounds have evolved over the years. Amateur and lower-league teams play in months leading up to the formal tournament rounds, with qualifying winners advancing to face USL clubs in geographical pairings in what most recently has been termed the "second round". The winner of each match progresses to the next round and the loser is eliminated from the tournament. Most MLS clubs now enter play in the third round, played in April, matched geographically with the winners of the second round. The highest eight ranked MLS teams enter in the Round of 32 in May. Pairings in each round are done by draw within geographic areas, until a final bracket of 4 teams each in 4 geographic regions is established. After the fourth round, no new teams are introduced, leading to quarterfinals in June, the semifinal round in August, and a final match to determine the champion in September. Every match, including the final, lasts 90 minutes plus any additional stoppage time. If no clear winner has been determined after 90 minutes of normal time, 30 minutes of extra time is played. If the score is still level after extra time then the winner is decided by a penalty shoot-out.[7]


Through the 2011 edition, eight teams from each level of the American Soccer Pyramid took part in the competition proper, with each league narrowing its delegation separately in the spring before the competition officially began in the summer. In some cases, additional teams played in qualifying rounds to gain entry. One example was found with MLS clubs, as only the top six from the previous regular season received automatic bids, while the bottom U.S.-based MLS teams faced each other to qualify for the remaining two MLS slots.

Beginning in 2012, the competition was expanded from its previous 40 teams to 64, with the qualifying process radically changed. The National Premier Soccer League received six places, plus the possibility of a seventh in a playoff against a team from the amateur US Club Soccer setup. Nine clubs from the USASA earned places, as did 16 USL Premier Development League teams. Each of these organizations has its own qualifying process to determine its entrants. These 32 teams competed in the first round of the Cup, with the winners meeting all 16 USL Pro and NASL teams in the second round. The 16 U.S.-based MLS teams entered in the third round.

In 2013 the competition was expanded to 68 teams. All U.S.-based Division I, II and III teams participated in the tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO. The remaining 34 spots in the tournament field were filled by amateur teams from the Adult Council category–16 from the Premier Development League, eight from U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifying, eight from the National Premier Soccer League, one from US Club Soccer and one from the United States Specialty Sports Association.

The process for determining the site for the Open Cup tournament semifinals and final was changed in 2013. In past years, the sites for the final three matches of the tournament had been determined through a sealed-bid process, but in 2013 the hosts of those games were determined by a coin flip. Home teams throughout the entire tournament were determined by random selection.[5]

Seattle Sounders FC's Open Cup trophies from 2009, 2010 and 2011

Since 2008, the champion of the U.S. Open Cup has earned the right to play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. The first team to represent the U.S. as Open Cup champion was 2007's winner, New England Revolution.[6]

Starting in 2016, lower-division professional clubs owned by higher-division professional clubs are no longer eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup. This removed the MLS reserve clubs in USL from the 2016 competition, after issues of clubs holding back players from their USL sides in 2015 in order to keep them eligible to play for the parent MLS club. Players are only allowed to play for one club in any US Open Cup season.[8] Amateur clubs remain eligible to enter even if they are owned by professional clubs. Initially, "hybrid affiliate" clubs—i.e., lower-division professional clubs that are staffed but not owned by higher-division clubs—also remained eligible, but those clubs were also banned effective with the 2016 competition. This last change was proposed by the Houston Dynamo, which were the senior club to Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in the first such arrangement in the U.S. game; that arrangement ended after the 2021 season, and those two teams would be drawn against each other in 2022.[9]


The original Dewar Trophy for the National Challenge Cup, used from 1914 to 1979

The competition dates back to 1913–1914, when it was known as the "National Challenge Cup". In 1999, U.S. Soccer honored patron Lamar Hunt by changing the official title of the tournament to the "Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup". The winners of the tournament were awarded the Dewar Cup, donated by Sir Thomas Dewar for the promotion of soccer in the United States in 1912, until it was retired due to poor condition in 1979. It was brought back into use by the United States Adult Soccer Association in 1997, but is now back on permanent display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and the recent winners of the tournament have been awarded a new, different trophy. Despite this, the name of each winning club is still added to the base of the original Dewar Cup.

The National Challenge Cup was the first truly national cup competition in the United States, as previous cups had been effectively relegated to regional status by the difficulties in coordination and travel caused by the size of the United States in the early 1900s. While U.S. Soccer had initially administered the competition, in 1985 they handed over management to the USASA. In 1995, U.S. Soccer resumed its administration of the competition.[10]

Maccabee Los Angeles of California and Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania have both won the cup a record five times, while Greek American AA of New York and Seattle Sounders FC are tied for the record for most consecutive cup victories at three. The old NASL did not participate in the Open Cup.[11]

Trophy awarded to the Rochester Rhinos in 1999

Since MLS' debut in 1996, MLS clubs have won the cup in all but one of those years. The Rochester Rhinos of the 2nd division A-League were surprise winners in 1999, defeating four MLS clubs, including the Colorado Rapids 2–0 in the championship match. The first professional team to win in the modern era were the Richmond Kickers of the USISL (the predecessor to the A-League, later known as the USL First Division, USL Pro, United Soccer League, and now as the USL Championship) in 1995, one year before the start of MLS. D.C. United were the first MLS team to win in 1996.[citation needed]

The tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 2012 with all MLS teams in the United States receiving an automatic berth; previously, MLS participants were determined through a qualifying tournament or were selected based on league standings. A rule change enacted in 2016 removed U.S. Open Cup entries for teams that were majority-owned by another team in a higher tier, which mostly affected USL Championship teams operated by MLS as reserve or developmental squads.[12]

The first round of the 2020 edition was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament was canceled entirely in August 2020, with all qualified teams automatically qualified for the following year; however, the 2021 Open Cup was canceled as well, due to schedule congestion as an effect of the pandemic.[3][13] The tournament resumed in 2022 with 71 professional clubs out of a total field of 103, both modern-era records.[14]

On December 15, 2023, Major League Soccer announced that its teams would no longer enter in the U.S. Open Cup starting in 2024, instead opting to send their MLS Next Pro teams.[15] However, on December 20, 2023, U.S. Soccer announced that they had denied MLS the necessary waiver to allow affiliated MLS Next Pro teams to play in the tournament.[16]


Through the 2010 U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer used sealed bids to award home matches.[17] From 2011, U.S. Soccer uses a simple coin toss to decide which team hosts each match for most rounds.[18] When the draw has more than two teams involved, such as the fourth round, U.S. Soccer uses a sealed envelope system. Four envelopes are opened, the first and second are home one and two followed by away one and two. This can be modified due to teams not applying to host and previous round winners not being able to be paired against each other.[19]


Champions by number of titles[edit]

Titles Teams
5 Bethlehem Steel, Maccabee Los Angeles
4 Chicago Fire, Fall River F.C., Greek American AA, Philadelphia Ukrainians, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City
3 D.C. United, New York Pancyprian-Freedoms, Stix, Baer and Fuller F.C.
2 Brooklyn Hispano, Brooklyn Italians, Elizabeth S.C., FC Dallas, Greek-American A.C., Harmarville Hurricanes, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Kickers, New York Americans, St. Louis Kutis, St. Louis Simpkins-Ford, Chicago Sparta
1 Atlanta United FC, Baltimore, Ben Millers, Brookhattan, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic, Chicago Viking, Columbus Crew, Eagles, Eintracht, España, Falcons, Fall River Rovers, Gallatin, New York German–Hungarian, Krete, New York Hota, McIlvaine Canvasbacks, C.D. Mexico, Morgan-Strasser, New Bedford Whalers, New England Revolution, New York Hakoah, New York Hungaria, New York Nationals, New York Ukrainians, Orlando City SC, Paterson F.C., Pawtucket, Ponta Delgada, Richmond Kickers, Robins Dry Dock, Rochester Rhinos, St. Louis Busch Seniors, Uhrik Truckers, San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, San Jose Oaks, St. Louis Scullin Steel, St. Petersburg Kickers, Shawsheen Indians

Champions by state[edit]

State Titles Runners-up Champions
New York (state) New York
Greek American AA (4), New York Pancyprian-Freedoms (3), Brooklyn Hispano (2), Brooklyn Italians (2), New York Americans (2), Brookhattan, Brooklyn Field Club, Brooklyn St. Mary's Celtic, Eintracht, New York German–Hungarian, Krete, New York Hota, New York Hakoah, New York Hungaria, New York Nationals, New York Ukrainians, Robins Dry Dock, Rochester Rhinos
California California
Maccabee Los Angeles (5), Greek-American A.C. (2), LA Galaxy (2), Los Angeles Kickers (2), McIlvaine Canvasbacks, C.D. Mexico, San Francisco I.A.C., San Jose Oaks
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Bethlehem Steel (5), Philadelphia Ukrainians (4), Harmarville Hurricanes (2), Gallatin, Morgan-Strasser, Uhrik Truckers
Missouri Missouri
Stix, Baer and Fuller (3), St. Louis Kutis (2), St. Louis Simpkins-Ford (2), Ben Millers, St. Louis Busch Seniors, Kansas City Wizards,[N 1] St. Louis Scullin Steel
Illinois Illinois
Chicago Fire FC (4), Sparta (2), Chicago Viking, Eagles, Falcons
Massachusetts Massachusetts
Fall River F.C. (4), Fall River Rovers, New Bedford Whalers, New England Revolution, Ponta Delgada, Shawsheen Indians
Washington (state) Washington
Seattle Sounders FC (4)
Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
D.C. United (3), España
Texas Texas
FC Dallas (2), Houston Dynamo (2)
New Jersey New Jersey
Elizabeth S.C. (2), Paterson F.C.
Kansas Kansas
Sporting Kansas City[N 1] (3)
Florida Florida
St. Petersburg Kickers, Orlando City SC
Ohio Ohio
Columbus Crew
Rhode Island Rhode Island
Maryland Maryland
Virginia Virginia
Richmond Kickers
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia
Atlanta United FC
Connecticut Connecticut
Michigan Michigan
Colorado Colorado
Minnesota Minnesota
South Carolina South Carolina
Utah Utah
Wisconsin Wisconsin
  1. ^ a b The club, now known as Sporting Kansas City, was based in Kansas City, Missouri, when it won its first U.S. Open Cup title in 2004. The club did not move to its current home of Kansas City, Kansas, until 2007.

MLS honors[edit]

Team Wins Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Chicago Fire FC 4 2 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 2004, 2011
Seattle Sounders FC 4 1 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 2012
Sporting Kansas City 4 0 2004, 2012, 2015, 2017
D.C. United 3 2 1996, 2008, 2013 1997, 2009
FC Dallas 2 2 1997, 2016 2005, 2007
LA Galaxy 2 2 2001, 2005 2002, 2006
Houston Dynamo 2 0 2018, 2023
Columbus Crew 1 2 2002 1998, 2010
New England Revolution 1 2 2007 2001, 2016
Atlanta United FC 1 0 2019
Orlando City SC 1 0 2022
Philadelphia Union 0 3 2014, 2015, 2018
New York Red Bulls 0 2 2003, 2017
Colorado Rapids 0 1 1999
Miami Fusion F.C. 0 1 2000
Real Salt Lake 0 1 2013
Minnesota United FC 0 1 2019
Inter Miami CF 0 1 2023

Player records[edit]

Career goals[edit]

The following is a table of the leading career goal scorers in the U.S Open Cup during the modern professional era (1995–present).[20]

Rank Player Goals Ref.
1 Sébastien Le Toux 16 [21]
2 Kenny Cooper 13 [21]
2 Jaime Moreno 13 [22]
2 David Bulow 13 [23]
2 Johnny Menyongar 13 [22]

Season scoring leaders[edit]

Season Player Team Goals Ref.
2010 Paulo Jr.
Nate Jaqua
Miami FC
Seattle Sounders FC
5 [24]
2011 David Bulow Richmond Kickers 6 [25]
2012 Brian Shriver Carolina Railhawks 5 [26]
2013 Dwayne De Rosario
Frédéric Piquionne
D.C. United
Portland Timbers
5 [27]
2014 Kenny Cooper Seattle Sounders FC 6 [28]
2015 Dom Dwyer
Krisztián Németh
Sporting Kansas City 5 [29]
2016 David Accam
Edwin Borboa
Chicago Fire FC
La Máquina
5 [30]
2017 Djiby Fall
Stefano Pinho
Bradley Wright-Phillips
FC Cincinnati
Miami FC
New York Red Bulls
4 [31]
2018 Mauro Manotas Houston Dynamo 6 [32]
2019 Darwin Quintero Minnesota United 6 [33]
2022 Rodrigo López
Lucky Mkosana
Facundo Torres
Sacramento Republic FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Orlando City SC
4 [34]


ESPN+ had exclusive broadcast rights for the 2019 and 2022 Open Cups.[35] Prior to 2019, the tournament had little broadcast exposure, with the final and select matches being broadcast on ESPN networks and all other matches streamed through the USSF's YouTube channel.

On March 1, 2022, U.S. Soccer and Turner Sports announced an 8-year exclusive multimedia rights deal for the United States men's and women's national teams. Cindy Parlow Cone, president of U.S. Soccer, confirmed in a separate interview that the new deal would include the Open Cup.[36][37] Early round U.S. Open Cup matches will air on the Bleacher Report app and the Bleacher Report Football YouTube channel.[38]


  1. ^ Parker, Graham (October 1, 2013). "The US Open Cup: A quiet century of soccer history". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "100 Moments: The First U.S. Open Cup Winner". USsoccer.com. Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation. May 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Cancelled Due to COVID-19" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  4. ^ "Schedule announced for next edition of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2022" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. July 20, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "100th Edition of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Includes Increased Number of Teams and Prize Money". USsoccer.com. Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation. March 5, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Qualifying Format Unveiled for 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League" (Press release). New York City: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. May 14, 2008. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Kicks Off May 7". USsoccer.com. Chicago, Illinois: United States Soccer Federation. May 24, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  8. ^ Halaka, Josh (November 4, 2015). "MLS-owned USL teams not allowed in 2016 U.S. Open Cup, per USSF policy change". thecup.us. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Open Cup Committee Adds New Adjustment To Policy Regarding Team Eligibility" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. March 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "USASA". USASA. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  11. ^ Westervelt, Ted (May 14, 2013). "U.S. Open Cup: 1958 to 1987". Goal, The New York Times Soccer Blog. Archived from the original on October 5, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  12. ^ Rueter, Jeff (February 9, 2024). "U.S. Soccer, MLS in 'near-daily' talks about U.S. Open Cup entries: Sources". The Athletic. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  13. ^ "SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT EDITION OF LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP IN 2022". ussoccer.com. July 20, 2021. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  14. ^ "Record-Setting 103 Teams Confirmed For 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, 107th Edition of U.S. Soccer's National Championship" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. January 25, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  15. ^ Bonagura, Kyle (December 15, 2023). "MLS withdraws first teams from U.S. Open Cup". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  16. ^ Bonagura, Kyle (December 20, 2023). "U.S. Soccer rules MLS teams must participate in '24 Open Cup". ESPN. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  17. ^ Brian Straus (October 5, 2011). "U.S. Open Cup could be revamped for '12 – SOCCER – Sporting News". Aol.sportingnews.com. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  18. ^ Jonathan Tannenwald (March 5, 2013). "U.S. Open Cup updates format, increases prize money for 2013 edition". philly.com. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  19. ^ US Soccer (May 24, 2018). "U.S. SOCCER UNVEILS 2018 U.S. OPEN CUP FOURTH ROUND PAIRINGS". ussoccer.com. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  20. ^ "2014 US Open Cup Round 5: Sebastien Le Toux's historic brace leads Philadelphia Union past New York Cosmos, 2–1 (video)", The Cup, June 25, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "US Open Cup: Title more important to Philadelphia Union's Sebastien Le Toux than scoring record", MLS Soccer, September 15, 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Philadelphia Union Reaches Semifinals of U.S. Open Cup", U.S. Soccer, July 8, 2014.
  23. ^ "Philadelphia Union Reaches Semifinals of U.S. Open Cup", U.S. Soccer, July 8, 2014. (The Richmond Kickers claimed in a 2013 press release that Bulow has scored 14 goals. See "Kickers Face United In Open Cup" Archived September 16, 2014, at archive.today)
  24. ^ "2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  25. ^ "2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  26. ^ "2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  27. ^ "2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  28. ^ "2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup goalscoring leaders".
  29. ^ Hakala, Josh. "2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup statistical leaders: Goals, assists, points". thecup.us. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  30. ^ Hakala, Josh. "2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup statistical leaders: Goals, assists, points". thecup.us. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  31. ^ Hakala, Josh. "2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup statistical leaders | TheCup.us – Full Coverage of US Open Cup Soccer". thecup.us. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  32. ^ Sousa, Dan. "2018 US Open Cup: Mauro Manotas of Houston Dynamo voted TheCup.us Player of the Tournament". thecup.us. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  33. ^ Hakala, Josh. "2019 US Open Cup statistical leaders". thecup.us. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  34. ^ Fontela, Jonah (September 9, 2022). "2022 Open Cup Golden Boot Race Ends Tied Three Ways". ussoccer.com. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  35. ^ "ESPN+ signs deal for exclusive U.S. Open Cup rights through 2022". Awful Announcing. April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  36. ^ "Turner Sports and United States Soccer Federation Reach Multimedia Rights Agreement" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. March 1, 2022. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  37. ^ Krishnaiyer, Kartik (February 15, 2022). "Cindy Parlow Cone talks US Soccer media rights".

External links[edit]