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Union not entered in U.S. Open Cup

During the past few months, Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have worked together to implement changes for the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup that will set the foundation for the future growth of the tournament.

The changes are supposed to increase the overall investment in the Open Cup, provide young players with greater developmental opportunities, reduce schedule congestion for MLS clubs, and address load management (aka schedule congestion) concerns to aid player health and safety.

Participating teams

Open Cup fans will see eight MLS clubs and 11 MLS NEXT Pro teams in the Open Cup this year.

  • MLS clubs: The eight MLS clubs will include Houston Dynamo FC (last year’s Open Cup champion) and the top seven ranked US-based teams according to the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, other than clubs playing in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.
  • MLS NEXT Pro clubs: The 11 MLS NEXT Pro teams will include nine MLS affiliates and two independent clubs. The nine MLS-affiliated teams competing will be based on the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro final standings, other than those clubs whose MLS first teams are participating in either the 2024 U.S. Open Cup or 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.

MLS teams will  play lower-division opponents only when it cannot be avoided, allegedly enhancing the tournament’s drama and appeal.

MLS clubs in 2024 US Open Cup (8)

  • Atlanta United
  • FC Dallas
  • Houston Dynamo FC
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • LAFC
  • Real Salt Lake
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • Seattle Sounders FC

Represented by MLS NEXT Pro team in 2024 US Open Cup (9)

  • Austin FC
  • Charlotte FC
  • Chicago Fire FC
  • Colorado Rapids
  • LA Galaxy
  • Minnesota United FC
  • New York City FC
  • New York Red Bulls
  • Portland Timbers

Not competing in 2024 US Open Cup (12)

  • FC Cincinnati^
  • Columbus Crew^
  • D.C. United
  • Inter Miami CF^
  • CF Montréal#
  • Nashville SC^
  • New England Revolution^
  • Orlando City SC^
  • Philadelphia Union^
  • St. Louis CITY SC^
  • Toronto FC#
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC^#

^ = Team not competing due to 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup participation.

# = Team instead competes in the Canadian Championship.

Dates to know

The eight participating MLS teams will enter in the Round of 32. The 11 participating MLS NEXT Pro teams will enter in the First Round.

Dates are subject to change.

  • First Round: March 19 – March 21
  • Second Round: April 2 – April 3
  • Third Round: April 16 – April 17
  • Round of 32: May 7 – May 8
  • Round of 16: May 21 – May 22
  • Quarterfinal: July 9 – July 10
  • Semifinal: Aug. 27 – Aug. 28
  • Final: Sept. 25

What’s at stake?

The 2024 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup and have their name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy.

Now in its 109th edition, the U.S. Open Cup has crowned a champion since 1914 in every year except 2020 and 2021 (COVID-19 pandemic). An MLS team has won every final since 2000.

U.S. Soccer says that it will be making its largest-ever investment in the tournament in 2024 by prioritizing enhanced financial incentives for participating teams, including significantly increased travel reimbursement.


  1. Damn, this obviously sucks but I actually don’t hate the way it works???
    I understand Garber was probably just focusing on money but I do kind of appreciate the cancellation for CCC and CCL teams,I also understand canceling it instead of leagues cup, seeing as open cup and CCC are at similar times of the season. The top 7 supporters shield teams get a place in the open cup. One thing I will be interested in is the amount of usl or lower division teams that will make it far. If there are only 8 MLS teams and that continues for the next 10 years then a usl team is bound to win it by then. Anyway, I basically think that although it sucks that MLS are trying to phase out the competition, I think it could be a lot worse.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      I kinda agree. Although what is DC’s excuse? But also, why couldn’t Union II participate?

      • I don’t think DC has an MLS Next Pro team right now… I believe they are in the provcess if restarting their academy.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    OCTinPHL, you are correct that DC does not have a team in MLS NEXT Pro. They still have one in USL Championship, although that presence may be slowly transitioning away, emphasis on slowly.
    As I have understood it, when Loudoun County, Virginia agreed to build Segra Fieldin Leesburg, VA they signed DC United to agree to put a division two team in the stadium. I do not know the length of that agreed provision.
    DC no longer is the majority shareholder in Loudoun United FC, only a minority, but they are still providing both soccer and business advice to the team. I known nothing of details.
    My impression is that it may be a transition out for DC, but that is an inference based on stories that the city of Baltimore has begun exploring possible sites for a soccer stadium that might be used by a DC United connected team in the future. That’s fairly tentative at this [oint it seems to me.
    That summarizes what I think I know.

  3. George Diamond says:

    So Don Garber forced the Leagues Cup on us, which caused almost all of the issues from ‘fixture congestion’ that MLS teams experienced last year.
    Then he tried to pull all the MLS teams out of the Open Cup.
    It just seems wrong to me that the top division league in a country would even consider not allowing its teams to participate in the national cup tournament. Really disappointing move from him for me.
    I’m glad some teams will play in it still but I’d much rather have Open Cup and no Leagues Cup than Leagues Cup and some Open Cup.

    • Don “GrabmoreMoney” at his finest… and not at all good for soccer in America.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      Why should MLS basically be taking a financial loss on a USSF tournament? At what point would this great tradition be a good tournament? Over the years I’ve watched on YouTube, ESPN+, Pluto TV….. With mostly empty stadiums until the last few games.
      I get that MLS and Garber are the bad guy here and I’m just fine with that. The amount of people crying over this doesn’t seem to match the amount of people who follow and go to early round games. Three local teams are in the early rounds and I hope those complaining make it out to these games and show the support the Cup needs.

  4. Deez Nuggs says:

    As much as I hate to admit it… because it is clearly money-grubbing nonsense that causes so many issues…
    I enjoyed Leagues Cup.
    It was bonkers and for some reason really fun.
    I’m not proud

    • Completely agree. And I am totally fine with playing a tournament with Liga MX teams instead of USL teams.

      This honestly seems like a pretty decent solution to the absurdity that was last season.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Not allowing all of the MLS Next Pro teams that are not represented by MLS teams makes no sense.

  6. paulcontinuum22 says:

    For the uninitiated, why is this happening?

    • Remarkable you spread such vitriol about the local team but have no greater worldview about the implications- one way or another- about how this affects the game in the US.
      Congrats… you’ve confirmed my suspicion —that you know nothing.

  7. MLS is an anticompetitive virus. It seeks control, domination and destruction of the US Soccer ecosystem. The mandate of FIFA across world soccer is that leagues work for the betterment of the entire ecosystem. Football is played at the club level not the league level. I’m disgusted by US Soccer and MLS.
    How to resolve this internal conflict and still root & support a local MLS team has become one of the most perplexing decisions of my adult life.

  8. I like the open cup. Some of my best (and most soul crushing) memories of Union games are from the Open Cup.
    Been to every Union home Open Cup game, plus that epic 4PM Tuesday midsummer game at RBA. Bottom line sadly is that not nearly enough people care (know about?) about the Open Cup. The Union hosted two finals, that did NOT sell out, not even close.
    The final against Seattle, the Union I believe paid for the TV rights in order to have it broadcast locally on CSN because Comcast didn’t carry the channel the final was being broadcast on (or it was on one of the higher priced sports packages).
    I really hope that the folks being loud and proclaiming their love for the cup and their disdain for MLS and Garber actually WATCH, and attend when possible, this years edition.

    • Attended every US Open Cup match Union ever played in, including the gut wrenching finals. But what Garber did was despicable, selfish and obtuse, affecting US Soccer for decades negatively. Instead of playing nice with US Soccer, Garber wanted them to sell him US Open Cup… and when they refused, Donny Boy got pissed and started Leagues Cup, which is a total joke that Liga MX bought into and then realized how MLS centric, wasteful and selfishly ridiculous that tournament really is.

      • John P. O'Donnell says:

        Yet for the most part it works on so many levels and the one game here between two Mexican teams was one of a few games that looked like an Open Cup crowd.
        Destroying the sport by creating more revenue, investing in more player development, more coaching development is the crazy kind of self centric attitude needed that is actually growing the sport. Irony

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