The U.S. Open Cup will not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the tournament is set to return in 2022 with several changes coming.
U.S. Soccer announced the changes for next year on Tuesday, which is highlighted by nearly half of the MLS-eligible teams set to enter in the third round, one round earlier than previous editions of the tournament. In addition, all rounds involving MLS and USL Championship clubs will be scheduled outside FIFA international windows.
“After calling off the 2021 edition of the Open Cup due to the remnant effects of COVID-19, we’re excited that we can put next year’s match dates on everyone’s calendar so early,” Open Cup commissioner Paul Marstaller said in a release.
“The 2022 tournament will be the first in memory when all the top players will be available for selection for every round as none of the games involving Division I Major League Soccer or Division II USL Championship clubs will be played during an international call-up period, a necessary feature for building a credible national championship.”
The 2022 Open Cup will run from March through September and is expected to set a record for the number of competing teams. Qualifying for amateur teams that aren’t members of USL League Two or the NPSL will take place this September-November.
Due to the cancellation of this year’s tournament, the 2022 Concacaf Champions League berth that would have been awarded to the 2021 Open Cup winner will be decided at a later date. Atlanta United were awarded the 2021 CCL berth as the most recent USOC winners, having raised the trophy in 2019.
A full schedule for the tournament can be found below.
2022 U.S. Open Cup competition schedule
- March 22-23: First round*
- April 5-7: Second round
- April 19-21: Third round
- May 10-11: Fourth round
- May 24-25: Round of 16
- June 21-22: Quarterfinals
- July 26-27: Semifinals
- September 6-7 or 13-14: Final
*Coincides with a FIFA international window