2019 US Open Cup format and schedule released

Houston Dynamo - US Open Cup - hoist trophy as 2018 champions

On Thursday, U.S. Soccer revealed the format and schedule for the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.

The oldest soccer competition in the United States and one of the oldest cup competitions worldwide, the 2019 tournament will be the 106th edition. The Houston Dynamo are the defending champions.

From the federation's release, regarding hosting rights: "Home teams will be determined by random selection among those who apply to host. Clubs whose venue meets minimum tournament standards will be given priority."

84 teams will participate in this year's USOC tournament proper, with the first round kicking off on the week of May 7. 32 amateur teams and six USL League One teams will begin the proceedings, while the second round will see the entrance of 25 USL Championship squads a week later.

All 21 American MLS teams will enter the competition in the fourth round, on the week of June 12. As previously done, the teams in this round will be put into eight geographic regions of four teams each, to limit travel in most cases.

From the fourth round, the field will dwindle quickly in the single-elimination tournament: The Round of 16 will come around June 19, depending on the Gold Cup schedule at that time, while the quarterfinals will be on July 10. The semifinals will be a month later, on August 7, and the final will be on August 27 or 28.

Another continuation from previous years: USL teams directly owned and operated by MLS teams are ineligible from participating in the U.S. Open Cup. 10 USL Championship clubs (ATL UTD 2, Bethlehem Steel FC, LA Galaxy II, Loudoun United FC; New York Red Bulls II, Portland Timbers 2, Real Monarchs SLC, Rio Grande Valley FC, Swope Park Rangers and Tacoma Defiance (known in 2018 as Seattle Sounders FC 2)) and two USL League One teams (North Texas SC and Orlando City B) are therefore ineligible.