What is the US Open Cup? United States knockout tournament full explained

US Open Cup Orlando City 2022

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami are in the mix for another trophy as the Argentine superstar looks to continue his early explosion as part of American soccer.

After winning the 2023 League Cup, Messi will now look to guide Inter Miami through the final stages of the U.S. The Open Cup, the highest knockout soccer competition in the United States.

Inter Miami is in the semifinals of the tournament, where they will face FC Cincinnati, who currently leads the MLS standings. The other semifinal will feature the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, both currently sitting in playoff positions in the Western Conference standings.

What is the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup?

In its 108th year of existence for the 2023 competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States.

The U.S. Open Cup is currently the top knockout soccer competition in the country, much like the FA Cup in England or the Copa del Rey in Spain.

In its current format, clubs from all professional leagues in the United States are eligible to participate. Those leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS), USL Championship, USL League One, National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), the United States Adult Soccer Association (USAAA), and US Club Soccer. At least 80 clubs have participated since 2014, and in 2023, 99 teams were involved.

First held in 1914, it was originally dubbed the “National Challenge Cup” and kept that name until 1999. That year, the competition was renamed to its current iteration, which honors former NASL and MLS executive Lamar Hunt, who was the principal founder of both leagues and is credited with ushering U.S. club soccer into the modern age.

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