After canceling the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will retuurn for its 107th edition next year.
The 2022 tournament will start March 22, with the final of U.S. Soccer’s national championship slated for mid-September.
A truncated 2021 Open Cup in May and June was called off and will not be rescheduled after not finding available match dates shared across the various participating leagues.
“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 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 2022 Open Cup also will be the first to execute on improvements that were put in place prior to 2020:
* A revised format that will see approximately half of MLS teams enter in the third round, one round earlier than in previous years. This move increases the number of matches across multiple rounds between Division I clubs and those from lower divisions (“David vs. Goliath” pairings). It also increases the opportunity (from 11 in 2019) for lower division clubs to reach the Round of 32.
* An expanded tournament calendar that will allow rounds to take place at least two weeks apart, providing additional time for home teams to market and sell tickets and for visiting clubs to arrange travel earlier at lower cost. In 2019, only one week separated the first and second rounds, as well as the Rounds of 32 and 16.
A record number of teams (both overall and at the professional level due to expansion over the last several years) are expected to take part, eclipsing the 100 sides that were to have played in the canceled 2020 Open Cup and the previous record 99 clubs that did take the field in 2017.
* The 2022 Concacaf Champions League berth that would have been awarded to the 2021 Open Cup winner will be addressed in the coming weeks by U.S. Soccer’s board of directors, which will recommend a course of action to Concacaf for their approval.
ESPN+ will be the home for the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including the final.
2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition Schedule
Jan. 6 Open Division berth allocation announced
Jan. 19 First Round pairings announced
Jan. 26 Second Round pairings and possible pairings announced
March 22-23 First Round (Mexico-USA World Cup Qualifier is March 24)
April 5-7 Second Round
April 8 Third Round Draw
April 19-21 Third Round (a portion of Division I teams enter)
April 22 Round of 32 Draw
May 10-11 Round of 32 (remaining Division I teams enter)
May 12 Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw
May 24-25 Round of 16
June 21-22 Quarterfinals
June 23 Semifinal/Final Hosting Draw
July 26-27 Semifinals
Sept. 6-7 or 13-14 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final