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Who is playing in the US Open Cup 2024? MLS clubs in reworked tournament, NEXT Pro teams participate

Who is playing in the US Open Cup 2024? MLS clubs in reworked tournament, NEXT Pro teams participate

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup may be the oldest domestic soccer competition in the United States by a considerable margin, but in its 109th edition of play, there’s a nervy feeling of new beginnings around the famed tournament.

Major League Soccer and the U.S. Soccer federation announced that only a handful of MLS clubs will participate in this year’s tournament.

MLS clubs have featured in the U.S. Open Cup since the league began play in 1996, dominating the event by winning all but two of the 27 tournaments since then. However, the league has stated that they are concerned with the sustainability of the current format, preferring to pour significant resources into the new Leagues Cup, while the U.S. Open Cup is sacrificed.

Last winter, MLS attempted to withdraw all clubs from the competition, but when that proposal was rejected by U.S. Soccer, the two sides came to a partial agreement. Eight clubs from MLS will enter this year’s event, while 10 more affiliated youth sides from MLS NEXT Pro will take the place of others.

MORE: Why are only a few MLS clubs participating in the 2024 US Open Cup?

How to watch 2024 US Open Cup

First RoundMar. 19-21Streaming: USSoccer.com, MLSSoccer.com, USLsoccer.com
Second RoundApr. 2-3Streaming: USSoccer.com, MLSSoccer.com, USLsoccer.com
Third RoundApr. 16-17TBD
Round of 32May 7-8TBD
Round of 16May 21-22TBD
QuarterfinalsJuly 9-10TBD
SemifinalsAug. 27-28TBD
FinalWed, Sept. 25TBD

All matches of the 2024 U.S. Open Cup will be broadcast, as U.S. Soccer hopes to increase the tournament’s visibility.

Full broadcast details of the entire tournament have not been announced, but it was revealed that all first and second-round matches will be streamed on the official websites of U.S. Soccer, Major League Soccer and USL. Likely, as the later rounds arrive, U.S. Soccer will lean on their rights deal with Turner Sports for much of the tournament’s coverage.

For the first time since 2008, the U.S. Open Cup will be formatted so that the first round is made up exclusively of matchups between professional teams against amateur clubs. Expanding that concept further, all MLS clubs will be forced to match up against lower-league opponents until that is no longer possible, based on other scheduling restrictions.

The idea is to give lower-league sides matches with greater visibility, while enjoying the chance to generate upsets.

Who is playing in the 2024 US Open Cup?

A total of 96 teams will enter the 2024 U.S. Open Cup, but the field will look significantly different from recent years. 

Not all Major League Soccer teams will participate, leaving the door wide open for a lower-league champion, something which hasn’t happened since the now-defunct Rochester Rhinos won in 1999.

An MLS participant has triumphed in every single edition since that time — a 22-year run, not including the two cancelled editions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sacramento Republic, who will participate this year, are the last lower-league side to reach the final, when they fell to Orlando City in 2022.

In fact, only four clubs participating in this year’s competition have ever won the tournament: defending champions Houston Dynamo, plus other MLS sides Seattle Sounders, Atlanta United and FC Dallas.

2024 US Open Cup participating teams

Entering in Round of 32

Only nine MLS first-team clubs will enter the U.S. Open Cup in 2024 — the defending champions Houston Dynamo plus the top eight clubs from the 2023 standings who are not participating in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

All the MLS clubs entered are automatic qualifiers into the Round of 32, while the top seven sides in the 2023 USL Championship (Tier 2) regular season standings will also enter at this stage, along with USL Championship playoff winners, Phoenix Rising.

ClubLeagueQualified via
Houston DynamoMLS2023 US Open Cup — 1st
2023 MLS aggregate table — 9th
Seattle SoundersMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 7th
LAFCMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 8th
Atlanta UnitedMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 10th
Real Salt LakeMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 11th
FC DallasMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 14th
Sporting KCMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 15th
San Jose EarthquakesMLS2023 MLS aggregate table — 16th
Phoenix RisingUSLC2023 USL Cup winners
Pittsburgh RiverhoundsUSLC2023 USL Championship — 1st
Sacramento RepublicUSLC2023 USL Championship — 2nd
Tampa Bay RowdiesUSLC2023 USL Championship — 3rd
Charleston BatteryUSLC2023 USL Championship — 4th
Orange County SCUSLC2023 USL Championship — 5th
San Antonio FCUSLC2023 USL Championship — 7th
Colorado Springs SwitchbacksUSLC2023 USL Championship — 8th

Entering in Third Round

Before that, the third round will see the remaining 16 USL Championship (Tier 2) clubs start the competition. This includes the two expansion sides, North Carolina FC and Rhode Island FC.

ClubLeagueQualified via
Memphis 901USLC2023 USL Championship — 9th
Louisville CityUSLC2023 USL Championship — 10th
Indy ElevenUSLC2023 USL Championship — 11th
El Paso LocomotiveUSLC2023 USL Championship — 13th
New Mexico UnitedUSLC2023 USL Championship — 14th
Birmingham LegionUSLC2023 USL Championship — 15th
Oakland RootsUSLC2023 USL Championship — 17th
Detroit City FCUSLC2023 USL Championship — 18th
Miami FCUSLC2023 USL Championship — 19th
Monterey Bay FCUSLC2023 USL Championship — 20th
FC TulsaUSLC2023 USL Championship — 21st
Loudoun UnitedUSLC2023 USL Championship — 22nd
Las Vegas LightsUSLC2023 USL Championship — 23rd
Hartford AthleticUSLC2023 USL Championship — 24th
North Carolina FCUSLC2024 USLC expansion club
Rhode Island FCUSLC2024 USLC expansion club

Entering in First Round

All other clubs will enter the US Open Cup in the first round. This early field is headlined by nine affiliated MLS NEXT Pro clubs, set to replace some MLS senior squads who were not selected to participate.

ClubLeagueQualified via
Austin FC IIMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Austin FC (MLS)
Chicago Fire FC IIMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Chicago Fire (MLS)
Colorado Rapids 2MLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Crown Legacy FCMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Charlotte FC (MLS)
LA Galaxy IIMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with LA Galaxy (MLS)
Minnesota United 2MLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Minnesota United (MLS)
NYCFC IIMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with NYCFC (MLS)
NY Red Bulls IIMLS NEXT ProAffiliation with NY Red Bulls (MLS)
Portland Timbers 2MLS NEXT ProAffiliation with Portland Timbers (MLS)
Carolina Core FCMLS NEXT Pro2024 MLS NEXT Pro expansion club
Chattanooga FCMLS NEXT Pro2024 MLS NEXT Pro expansion club
Union OmahaUSL12023 USL League One table — 1st
Northern Co. HailstormUSL12023 USL League One table — 3rd
Charlotte IndependenceUSL12023 USL League One table — 4th
Greenville TriumphUSL12023 USL League One table — 5th
Forward MadisonUSL12023 USL League One table — 6th
Tormenta FCUSL12023 USL League One table — 7th
One Knoxville SCUSL12023 USL League One table — 8th
Lexington SCUSL12023 USL League One table — 9th
Chattanooga Red WolvesUSL12023 USL League One table — 10th
Richmond KickersUSL12023 USL League One table — 11th
Central Valley FuegoUSL12023 USL League One table — 12th
Spokane VelocityUSL12024 USL League One expansion club
Michigan StarsNISA2023 NISA standings — 2nd
LA ForceNISA2023 NISA standings — 3rd
Maryland BobcatsNISA2023 NISA standings — 5th
Club de LyonNISA2023 NISA standings — 7th
Savannah CloversNISA2023 NISA standings — 8th
Arizona MonsoonNISA2024 NISA expansion club
Capo FCNISA2024 NISA expansion club
Georgia LionsNISA2024 NISA expansion club
Irvine ZetaNISA2024 NISA expansion club
Tulsa AthleticNPSL2023 NPSL Final champions
Apotheos FCNPSL2023 NPSL Final runners-up
West Chester UnitedNPSL2023 NPSL semifinalists
Steel City FCNPSL2023 NPSL quarterfinalists
FC MotownNPSL2023 NPSL quarterfinalists
El Farolito SCNPSL2023 NPSL quarterfinalists
Lubbock MatadorsNPSL2023 Lone Star Conference winners
Duluth FCNPSL2023 North Conference winners 
Ballard FCUSL22023 USL League Two title winners
Asheville City SCUSL2USL League Two participant
Brave SCUSL2USL League Two participant
Chicago City SCUSL2USL League Two participant
Des Moines MenaceUSL2USL League Two participant
Hudson Valley HammersUSL2USL League Two participant
NoVa FCUSL2USL League Two participant
Redlands FCUSL2USL League Two participant
South Carolina UnitedUSL2USL League Two participant
Vermont Green FCUSL2USL League Two participant
Western Mass PioneersUSL2USL League Two participant
SC MesoAmericaUSASA2023 National Amateur Cup champions
AS FrenziUPSL2024 UPSL Spring Champions
Azteca FCCPL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Brockton FC UnitedUPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
FC FolsomUPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
FC America CFL SpursUPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Foro SCUPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Irvine Zeta FC 2UPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
South Carolina HeatUPSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Chicago House ACMWPL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Christos FCMSSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Miami United FCUSSL2024 US Open Cup local qualifier
Vereinigung ErzgebirgeUSL-P2024 US Open Cup local qualifier

Which MLS clubs will not play in the 2024 US Open Cup?

With only eight senior MLS sides participating in the U.S. Open Cup in 2024, that leaves the 21 clubs left out.

Six of those teams were excused due to continental participation — with MLS looking to ease the schedule of those in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Only Houston Dynamo, who were afforded the opportunity to defend their 2023 U.S. Open Cup title, will participate in both tournaments.

The bottom 15 MLS clubs from the 2023 standings were not selected to participate. Inter Miami missed out on both counts — finishing 27th in the 2023 aggregate standings and also participating in the CONCACAF Champions Cup via winning the Leagues Cup.

Club2023 finishMissed out via
Columbus CrewMLS Cup championsCONCACAF Champions Cup participation
Inter MiamiMLS aggregate table — 27th
2023 Leagues Cup champions
CONCACAF Champions Cup participation & MLS standings
FC CincinnatiSupporters’ Shield winnersCONCACAF Champions Cup participation
St Louis City SCWestern Conference winnersCONCACAF Champions Cup participation
Orlando City SCMLS aggregate table — 2ndCONCACAF Champions Cup participation
New England Rev.MLS aggregate table — 5thCONCACAF Champions Cup participation
Nashville SCMLS aggregate table — 12th
2023 Leagues Cup runners-up
CONCACAF Champions Cup participation
Sporting KCMLS aggregate table — 15thMLS standings
San Jose EarthquakesMLS aggregate table — 16thMLS standings
NY Red BullsMLS aggregate table — 17thMLS standings
Portland TimbersMLS aggregate table — 18thMLS standings
Charlotte FCMLS aggregate table — 19thMLS standings
Minnesota UnitedMLS aggregate table — 21stMLS standings
NYCFCMLS aggregate table — 22ndMLS standings
D.C. UnitedMLS aggregate table — 23rdMLS standings
Chicago FireMLS aggregate table — 24thMLS standings
Austin FCMLS aggregate table — 25thMLS standings
LA GalaxyMLS aggregate table — 26thMLS standings
Colorado RapidsMLS aggregate table — 28thMLS standings

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