A map depicting the record-high 100 teams competing in the 2020 U.S. Open Cup, 11 of which are from League Two. Graphic courtesy U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer announced today that eleven teams from USL League Two will take part in the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the country. Teams in League Two enter the tournament via the National Leagues track under Open Cup regulations.
League Two determines qualification for the U.S. Open Cup using regular season results from the previous season, based on rankings of division winners. In the event that a division winner is invited to the Open Cup but declines to participate or will not compete in League Two the following season, the next highest-ranked team from a league-wide table is invited.
“The Open Cup has long represented a special opportunity for League Two clubs to test themselves against professionals,” said USL League Two Vice President Joel Nash. “Our players and teams have achieved historic upsets and made lifelong memories in the past, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the tournament unfolds this season.”
Just four of the 11 clubs that qualified played in last season’s Open Cup, meaning there will be plenty of first-timers representing League Two. Des Moines Menace, FC Golden State Force, South Georgia Tormenta FC 2, and The Villages SC are returning for this year’s tournament, all of whom qualified as winners of their divisions in 2019.
Chicago FC United, North Carolina Fusion U23, and Western Mass Pioneers also received invitations as divisional champions. League Two’s four wild card entries are (in order of rank) GPS Portland Phoenix, SC United Bantams, Ventura County Fusion, and Corpus Christi FC.
Division winners Brazos Valley Cavalry FC and Reading United AC declined invitations to the tournament.
U.S. Soccer will announce the first round matchups on January 22, with the first round of the tournament proper set to take place March 24-25, 2020.