U.S. Open Cup Rule Change Gifts A Bye To A PDL, NPSL Side



January’s rule changes to team eligibility for the US Open Cup has now given two teams a bye into the second round of the competition.

The new rule added on January 7th states that teams whose players are managed by a higher level outdoor team will not be eligible for the US Open Cup in 2016. This includes all MLS2 teams.

Here is what spurred the decision (from a USSF release):

The U.S. Open Cup Committee has made an adjustment to the Open Cup Policy regarding team eligibility, forbidding any Outdoor Professional League Team whose player roster is managed by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team from participating in the tournament. This addition broadens the ineligibility provision announced January 7 beyond ownership control.

For the 2016 tournament, this adjustment affects only Rio Grande Valley FC (USL), an independently-owned Division III expansion team whose roster is managed by the Houston Dynamo (MLS). The change was made at the request of the Dynamo.

As a result of one fewer Division III team entering the competition in the Second Round, the U.S. Open Cup Committee has determined that the top Premier Development League qualifier (Kitsap Pumas) and the top National Premier Soccer League qualifier (Chattanooga FC) will be granted byes to the Second Round.

For that reason there will be fewer teams participating in the tournament and will allow PDL side Kitsap Pumas and NPSL side Chattanooga FC to bypass the first round of the US Open Cup. Both teams will go directly to the second round where seventeen USL teams will enter the competition.

First and second round US Open Cup fixtures will be announced on April 6th and will once again provides the winning team with a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

2016 US Open Cup Schedule:

April 6: Initial Pairing Announcement

May 11th: First Round with 46 open division teams entering

May 18th: Second Round with 17 USL teams and 2 open division squads entering

June 1st: Third Round with 9 NASL teams entering

June 15th: Fourth Round with 17 MLS teams entering

June 16th: Round of 16 Draw

June 29th: Round of 16 fixtures

July 20th: Quarterfinal fixtures

August 10th: Semifinal fixtures

September 21st: US Open Cup Final

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