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US Open Cup: 2024 dates, odds, history and key details

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the top domestic cup competition in US soccer.

In addition to playing in MLS, the top teams in the USA compete each season in the US Open Cup, a knockout competition with a similar format to the main domestic cups in Europe.

Given that MLS has no promotion or relegation, the US Open Cup is the only chance for clubs outside the top division to play against the top teams in the country, which leads to plenty of upsets. 

None of the three Canadian MLS teams feature in the competition.

With the US Open Cup predating MLS by almost 80 years, let’s take a closer look at the competition’s history.

WhatUS Open Cup
WhereUnited States
WhenMarch to September 2024
How to watchTNT, Bleacher Report YouTube and app

US Open Cup date

The US Open Cup begins in March and it runs through to the final in September. Recent editions have seen around 100 teams take part, so it takes time to work through the rounds as the sides are whittled down to a final two.

The early rounds in the spring feature teams from the lower divisions, with the 26 US-based MLS sides joining in the third round or later, similar to the FA Cup in England.

Some MLS sides, such as New York City FC and the Colorado Rapids, sent their reserve teams to compete in the tournament and entered in earlier rounds because of it.

From the first round through to the final, there are eight total rounds of the competition. 

US Open Cup location

The US Open Cup is held at stadiums around the United States. The home side for each tie is decided during the draw for each round of the competition.

Unlike many major domestic cups in Europe, there are no neutral venues in the final stages of the US Open Cup. The draw decides who is the home side for each tie through to the final.

Given the size of the United States, rounds up to and including the round of 32 - the fourth round of the competition - see sides grouped geographically to cut the distance that away sides need to travel. 

How to watch the US Open Cup

The early rounds of the 2024 US Open Cup were broadcast on the Bleacher Report app and the Bleacher Report YouTube channel as part a new broadcast rights agreement. In past years, games had been broadcast on ESPN+.

Further broadcast information will be available as the competition progresses, and some games may be shown on TNT.

US Open Cup history

The US Open Cup was first held in 1913, months after the United States Soccer Federation was established.

The first competition was named the National Challenge Cup and just 40 teams took part. It began in November 1913 and the final took place in May the following year.

This season is the 110th US Open Cup campaign, with both the 2020 and 2021 editions cancelled by the USSF due to Covid.

Most US Open Cup wins

Given that the tournament is over 100 years old, the most successful sides don’t quite match up with the current state of MLS. The most successful teams in the history of the competition are Maccabee Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel.

Maccabee Los Angeles shut down after losing the 1982 US Open Cup final, having won a joint-record fifth title in 1981. 

Bethlehem Steel was the early dominant force in the competition, winning their five titles by 1926, shutting down in 1930.

Three active MLS sides have won the competition four times. They are Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City. 

The Fire has been waiting since 2006 for their fifth title, while Sporting Kansas City won the competition four times between 2004 and 2017.

Orlando City won the US Open Cup for the first time in its history in 2022, nine years after joining MLS.

Unsurprisingly, the dominant states are New York and California. New York sides have a combined 39 finals appearances, winning a record 26 times. Greek American AA - who last won the competition in 1967 - is the most successful New York side.

In recent years, the competition has become dominated by MLS sides. The last non-MLS team to lift the trophy was the Rochester Rhinos in 1999.

Most recent US Open Cup winner

The Houston Dynamo won the 2023 edition of the US Open Cup, beating Inter Miami 2-1. 

Miami superstar Lionel Messi missed the match due to muscle fatigue. Houston's Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi scored in the first half, and Miami could only salvage a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time.

The 2023 US Open Cup is Houston's second success in the competition after they beat the Philadelphia Union 3-0 in the 2018 final.

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