The field and format for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup was finalized this week, and three notable clubs are absent from the list of participants.
The three teams remaining in the NASL despite the cancellation of the 2018 season, the New York Cosmos, Miami FC, and the Jacksonville Armada, were not included in the field of 94 teams competing for the U.S. Open Cup title.
Last year, Miami FC made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the tournament before falling to FC Cincinnati. They also won the Spring and Fall seasons of the NASL while the Cosmos lost the playoff final to the defunct San Francisco Deltas.
Cosmos owner and NASL chairman Rocco Commisso has filed another grievance with the United States Soccer Federation over their exclusion from the field.
“I strongly believe that the NASL clubs being excluded from the 2018 USOC is against the spirit of an open tournament and is an unjust decision based on the following factors,” Commisso said in a letter to U.S. Soccer.
He then listed everything his club has done to ensure participation in the tournament in 2018. His list includes the Cosmos completing their entry paperwork and submitting their entry fee, the inclusion of the USL’s expansion teams and the NASL sides that jumped to that league for this season, and the fact that the Miami FC and the Armada are fielding teams in the NPSL this year.
Miami FC’s CEO Sean Flynn echoed the Cosmos’ statement.
“It is a sad and troubling day for The Miami FC and its fans,” Flynn said in a club issued statement. “The notion that the USSF would deny this club and other NASL clubs re-entry to the historic U.S. Open Cup is maddening and inexcusable. The USSF’s efforts to essentially relegate a league into extinction, and then deny those remaining clubs the opportunity to compete in this tournament, clearly shows that the system is broken and is operating outside of FIFA’s rules. Our path to ultimately compete in FIFA’s Club World Cup is now blocked by our own federation, a path that professional clubs in every other FIFA member country around the globe has access to.”
Commisso is demanding the federation take one of three possible actions. He wants them to either remove the USL expansion sides and NASL defectors from the tournament, getting rid of the second teams operated by the Portland Timbers, Oklahoma City Energy and New York Red Bulls, or and other resolution that would allow the Cosmos, Armada, and Miami FC to compete in the tournament.