Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer announced on Monday the MLS club qualification procedure for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The US-based MLS clubs with the highest number of regular season points per game at the conclusion of the first three weeks of MLS play will qualify for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
In the event that two or more teams have an equal number of points per game, the below regular season tiebreakers will be used until one team ranks above the other(s). After the winner of the MLS regular season tiebreaker is determined, any remaining tied clubs will again go through a second round of the MLS tiebreakers in order to determine the next advancing club. The tiebreaker system will continue until qualification has been determined.
- Goal Differential (GD) per match (Goals For per match minus Goals Against per match)
- Goals For (GF) per match
- Fewest Disciplinary Points* per match
- Away Goals Differential per Away match (Away Goals For per Away match minus Away Goals Against per Away match)
- Away Goals For per Away match
- Home Goals Differential per Home match (Home Goals For per Home match minus Home Goals Against per Home match)
- Home Goals For per Home match
- Coin Toss (tie of two clubs) or Drawing of Lots (tie of three or more clubs)
New tournament format
- The U.S. Open Cup Committee has decided not to hold the tournament’s previously planned Opening Round, citing challenges still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The tournament will now feature 16 teams that will play four rounds.
- The 16 teams will be pooled on a geographic basis into groups of four, with each quartet consisting of two Division I teams and two lower division sides.
- If multiple options are available for creating the groups, the composition will be determined by random selection.
- A draw will be conducted within each group so that each Division I team is paired against a lower division club. Teams that apply to host having a venue that meets minimum requirements will have hosting priority.
- The Round of 16 Draw, scheduled for May 4, will also decide the pairings and home teams for the Quarterfinal Round while setting the bracket for the remainder of the tournament.
- A separate draw after the Quarterfinal Round will determine the Semifinal Round hosts and the priority order for hosting the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.