The 16 entrants in the 2013 US Open Cup from the USL Pro Development League (PDL) were announced Wednesday, highlighted by the return of the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers U-23 sides.
This will mark the second straight year the Timbers U-23s (above) have made it, and they will be joined by Cascadia rivals Seattle for the first time ever.
The PDL represents the fourth tier of the North American soccer pyramid, comprising 62 teams. The top four teams in the 2012 regular-season standings for each of the PDL's four conferences qualified for the 2013 Open Cup.
In addition to the PDL teams and all 16 US-based MLS teams, the Open Cup field will feature 18 amateur outfits, six NASL teams (all US-based teams participating in the Spring Championship), and the 12 US-based USL Pro teams. The PDL participants will enter in the first round, with MLS teams joining in the third.
Among the other participants are the Michigan Bucks, who made an impressive run to the fourth round in last year's edition, toppling the the Chicago Fire along the way. The Ventura County Fusion, returning in 2013, also made a strong run last year, reaching the third round before narrowly falling to Chivas USA. Orlando City U-23 will be making their fourth straight appearance in the tournament.
PDL 2013 US Open Cup Participants:
- Eastern Conference: Carolina Dynamo, GPS Portland Phoenix, Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United
- Southern Conference: Austin Aztex, Laredo Heat, Ocala Stampede, Orlando City U-23
- Central Conference: Des Moines Menace, Michigan Bucks, Real Colorado Foxes, River City Rovers
- Western Conference: FC Tucson, Portland Timbers U-23s, Sounders FC U-23, Ventura County Fusion