The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup turns 100 this year, and the grand old event is celebrating with the biggest, richest party of its long history.
US Soccer released details of the 2013 edition of the Open Cup on Tuesday, revealing that the event will include 68 teams – four more than last year and the most in the event's modern era – from across the spectrum of amateur, semipro and professional levels when it kicks off on May 7.
And the prize money for the tournament winner has more than doubled from last year, rising from $100,000 to a cool quarter of a million dollars. The payouts for runner-up and top finishers from each lower division have also increased to $60,000 and $15,000, respectively.
The process of determining the host venues for the tournament's latter rounds, which has come under some criticism in the past, has been adjusted for 2013. Now a coin flip will be used instead of the sealed-bid process, while random selection will be used to decide home teams for the rest of the tourney.
Sporting Kansas City won the 2012 US Open Cup, edging out the three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders in a tense cup final on Aug. 8 at Sporting Park that had to be decided by penalty-kick shootout. This year's final has been scheduled for Oct. 1 or 2.
The Open Cup includes 12 USL Pro (division three) teams, six NASL (division two) sides and all 16 US-based MLS clubs as well as 34 amateur teams from a range of leagues. All MLS teams will enter the competition at the Third Round (round of 32) stage, which takes place on May 28.
2013 US Open Cup schedule
Number of Games: 2
Date: May 7
One NPSL team will take on the US Club Soccer representative, while a second NPSL team faces the USSSA representative.
Number of Games: 18
Date: May 14
Two winners from Play-In Round join remaining 30 Adult Council category teams and four USL PRO teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and expansion sides Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 21
Eighteen (18) winners from First Round join remaining eight USL PRO clubs and six NASL teams.
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 28
Sixteen (16) winners from Second Round are paired against 16 MLS sides.
Number of Games: 8
Date: June 12
Sixteen (16) winners from Third Round face each other.
Date: June 26
Fourth Round winners face each other.
Date: Aug. 7 or 21
Quarterfinal winners face each other.
Date: Oct. 1 or 2