For the second straight year, there will be no U.S. Open Cup due to COVID-19.
The U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed on Tuesday that this year’s edition of the competition won’t take place “after not finding available match dates shared across the various participating leagues.” According to Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated, a proposal to hold an altered U.S. Open Cup format with 24 clubs in May and June was abandoned, and the federation explained Tuesday it’s now planning for next year instead of for the fall months.
“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 the prepared statement. “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 U.S. Open Cup ran for 106 consecutive years until the 2020 tournament was scrapped because of the health crisis. 2019 Open Cup champion Atlanta United ultimately received the automatic 2021 CONCACAF Champions League berth awarded to the annual Open Cup champion, and U.S. Soccer said Tuesday its board of directors will address the automatic berth for the 2022 Champions League in the coming weeks.
ESPN+ will broadcast U.S. Open Cup matches assuming the competition can begin next spring as hoped. The 2022 Open Cup Final is tentatively planned for either Sept. 6-7 or 13-14.