US Open Cup 2022 format: How the tournament will work

The US Open Cup is poised to make a long-awaited return next year, running from March 2022 to September 2022. US Soccer, the tournament's organizers, announced a series of changes on Tuesday for the first edition in three years.

The tournament was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. US Soccer originally planned to run a condensed version this spring, but eventually opted out of it.

US Soccer is now teasing a bigger tournament than recent editions, with more teams participating than ever before. One of the biggest format changes is that nearly half of MLS-eligible teams will enter in the third round, one round earlier than previous editions.

“After calling off the 2021 edition of the Open Cup due to the remnant effects of COVID-19, we’re excited that we can put next year’s match dates on everyone’s calendar so early,” Open Cup commissioner Paul Marstaller said in a release. “The 2022 tournament will be the first in memory when all the top players will be available for selection for every round as none of the games involving Division I Major League Soccer or Division II USL Championship clubs will be played during an international call-up period, a necessary feature for building a credible national championship.”

The 2022 Concacaf Champions League berth that would have been awarded to the 2021 Open Cup winner will be decided at a later date following discussions between U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors, who will recommend a course of action to Concacaf for their approval.

Atlanta United were awarded the 2021 CCL berth as the most recent US Open Cup winners, having raised the trophy in 2019.

The 2022 tournament will once again air on ESPN+. A full schedule for the tournament can be found below.

2022 US Open Cup competition schedule

  • March 22-23: First round*
  • April 5-7: Second round
  • April 19-21: Third round
  • May 10-11: Fourth round
  • May 24-25: Round of 16
  • June 21-22: Quarterfinals
  • July 26-27: Semifinals
  • September 6-7 or 13-14: Final

*Coincides with a FIFA international window