The 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be a big one. On Wednesday, several changes were announced for the oldest ongoing national soccer tournament in the United States.
This year the tournament will feature 68 teams, up from 64 in 2012. Additionally, the winner's pot increased significantly giving the club more incentive to go for the cup. In 2013, the winning side will get $250,000 (up from $100,000). The runner up will get $60,000 (previously $50,000), and the team that advances the most from lower divisions will get win $15,000 (up from $10,000).
The other big change in this year's tournament will be the selection of the site of semifinals and the final match. Teams will no longer bid on hosting the matches, but rather a coin toss will determine the home team.
The U.S. Open Cup will begin with the play in round which will be completed by May 7, and the tournament final will be either October 1 or 2.
Major League Soccer teams will join in the third round of play on May 28. The 16 teams that made it through the first two rounds will be paired up with the 16 MLS sides.
The MLS clubs participating in 2013 are: Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City.
Other Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Participants:
North American Soccer League (Division II - 6 teams): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota Stars FC, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies.
USL PRO (Division III - 12 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Phoenix FC Wolves, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, VSI Tampa Bay FC, Wilmington Hammerheads.
Distribution of Amateur-Level Places (34 total):
U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers - 8 places: Four USASA regional qualifiers advanced to the second round in 2012, including Cinderella story Cal FC, who reached the fourth round.
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League - 16 places: The PDL will have the largest representation among amateur leagues. In 2012 the Michigan Bucks were the lone PDL team to reach the fourth round.
National Premier Soccer League - 8 places: The NPSL is a national amateur league affiliated with the USASA. Prior to last year, its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.
US Club Soccer - 1 place: US Club Soccer is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. It was first represented in last year's tournament.
U.S. Specialty Sports Association - 1 place: The USSSA is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. Its clubs will be participating for the first time in this year's tournament.
Date: April 28
Number of Games: 2
Date: May 7
One NPSL team will take on the US Club Soccer representative, while a second NPSL team faces the USSSA representative.
Number of Games: 18
Date: May 14
Two winners from Play-In Round join remaining 30 Adult Council category teams and four USL PRO teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and expansion sides Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 21
Eighteen (18) winners from First Round join remaining eight USL PRO clubs and six NASL teams.
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 28
Sixteen (16) winners from Second Round are paired against 16 MLS sides.
Number of Games: 8
Date: June 12
Sixteen (16) winners from Third Round face each other.
Date: June 26
Fourth Round winners face each other.
Date: Aug. 7 or 21
Quarterfinal winners face each other.
Date: Oct. 1 or 2