2015 U.S. Open Cup to feature record number of teams, newer format
U.S. Soccer announced the format for the 2015 U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday.
This year's Cup will feature 91 teams, which is a record number and up from the 80 that participated last year.
The tournament will begin in April and will take place over a five-month period, culminating in the final on Sept. 29 or 30. From the release:
A significant update to the tournament format will be a new, geographically-based random draw that will determine the Round of 16 matches and set a fixed bracket to the final. The change was implemented to minimize the possibility of clubs being required to travel long distances for matches. As in earlier editions, matches from the beginning of the tournament to the fourth round will be determined on a geographic basis, with certain restrictions in place.
Forty-seven of the teams in the field will be professional teams from MLS, NASL and USL Pro, with the remaining 44 spots going to amateur teams. With the addition of NYCFC and Orlando City SC, MLS has 17 entrants.
The 2014 U.S. Open Cup was won by the Seattle Sounders, the club's fourth title in the last six years. This year's winner will take home $250,000 and a berth in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
- Molly Geary