The format for the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has yet to be announced, but two teams changing leagues has opened the door for others to qualify.
Based on the 2017 US Open Cup handbook (distributed by the USSF), TheCup.us determined which Premier Development League (PDL) teams and which National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) teams were likely to qualify for the 104th edition of the tournament. The criteria for qualification was the results of the previous league season.
Now, with the Myrtle Beach Mutiny and the Midland-Odessa Sockers, changing leagues, this makes them ineligible to next year’s competition. Myrtle Beach moved from NPSL to PDL while Midland-Odessa did the reverse.
This isn’t so much of a policy as it is, an example of simple sports logic. Each league is awarded a certain number of spots in the tournament, so if a qualified team leaves a league and joins another, which league should they represent? The choices are: a league they just left or the league they just joined where their credentials for qualifying are season results with a rival league? Myrtle Beach and Midland-Odessa simply don’t have league results from their current league, making them ineligible.
This opens the door for one additional team in both leagues, though which team that is unclear since the precise allocation has yet to be announced by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). However, we can harbor a guess based on recent tournaments and last summer’s breakdown of which PDL and NPSL should make the tournament (now updated to reflect the changes).
For the PDL, the process is simple: every team below Midland-Odessa moves up one. PDL sent 19 teams to the 2016 Open Cup. So if the allocation remains the same, that’s good news for teams like SC United Bantams, who are next in line assuming the league will maintain 19 entries. The Burlingame Dragons are sitting 20th, while Derby City Rovers are now No. 21.
The NPSL situation is slightly more complicated. They make their Open Cup qualifying list based on playoff results, as well as regional and conference standings. This essentially means that only certain teams in the South Region are affected. The Atlanta Silverbacks, who were likely on the outside looking in based on last year’s 15-team NPSL allocation, jump to the #11 slot and into the tournament if last year’s format holds true. Jacksonville Armada U-23s jump to the 18th position while other South teams (Houston Dutch Lions and FC Wichita) are unaffected.
MORE: Which PDL teams will qualify for the 2017 US Open Cup?
MORE: Which NPSL teams will qualify for the 2017 US Open Cup?
To be clear, this is not a result of the rule that disqualified Minneapolis City SC, as first reported by FiftyFive.One. They are expected to be disqualified because they changed leagues midway through the 2017 US Open Cup qualifying process.