For the fourth year in a row, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that they will utilize a play-in tournament for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The top six teams from last year’s MLS regular season, including defending Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC, will automatically qualify, while the remaining nine U.S.-based clubs will battle for two spots in the competition.
Along with the Sounders, the Columbus Crew, Los Angeles Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire and Chivas USA will enter the tournament in the Third Round.
The pairings were determined by the teams’ finish in the overall MLS standings last season, with the expansion Philadelphia Union seeded last.
Coin flips were held to determine home teams for the first five matches, which will be completed by the end of April; coin flips also will be held for the last two games once the final four teams are determined.
MLS made the announcement on its website, MLSnet.com, with a video featuring Greg Lalas and the Executive VP of Competition, Nelson Rodriguez. (Video below)
QUALIFYING SCHEDULE Game A: Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls Game B: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union or New York Red Bulls Game C: Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes Game D: Colorado Rapids at Kansas City Wizards Game E: FC Dallas at D.C. United Game F: Game B winner vs. Game D winner (winner qualifies), home team TBD Game G: Game C winner vs. Game E winner (winner qualifies), home team TBD Games A-E: Games to be completed by the end of April Games F-G: Games to be completed by the end of May