Today, US Soccer has announced changes to the US Open Cup that had been rumored for a few months. Plenty of changes have been made to the format and the design of the tournament. As a whole, all the moves that were made I would say were for the better.
First, all 32 professional teams in the United States will be competing in the tournament. That means all 16 MLS teams qualify for the tournament proper, no more qualifying for MLS teams. Not that it totally matters for KC this year as they would have been in the tournament proper automatically, but I like the fact that there are no longer qualifying games for the teams in the countries top division.
The second, and possibly the biggest change is the bidding process. US Soccer has changed the bidding process for the first round through the quarterfinals. Instead of teams bidding to host the game, the first round through the quarterfinals, teams will apply to host, and if both teams meet the USSF qualifications, there will be a blind draw. The semifinals and finals though will still use the same bidding process that had been used in the past.
The tournament will start on May 15th with the 32 amateur teams. The second round is on the 22nd, when the 16 NASL and USL Pro teams enter the tournament. Sporting KC and the rest of the US based MLS teams will enter the tournament in the third round on May 29th. That will be two days after Sporting host San Jose in a game on NBC Sports. The next round should KC advance would be on June 4th. The good news for KC is that KC's next league game after the 27th against San Jose is on the 16th. The quarterfinals would be on 6/26, the semifinals 7/10, and the finals would be on 8/7 or 8/8. A very condensed schedule this year for the cup.
Read the post from TheCup.us, the unofficial home for the US Open Cup for lots more information on the new format.