U.S. Soccer has determined its format for the 2017 Lamar Hunt Open Cup. In its 104th year of competition, there will be a modern-era record participation of 99 teams.
Along with North Carolina FC, five other NASL teams will come into the picture on May 17: Indy Eleven, Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC, New York Cosmos and the San Francisco Deltas.
A total of 56 Open Division teams (including clubs from the Premier Development League and National Premier Soccer League as well as those advancing from local qualifying) will enter in the First Round, while 24 clubs from the North American Soccer League and United Soccer League will see their first action in the Second Round on May 17.
The Third Round takes place May 31, with the winners from this stage joined by 19 Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 14.
As has been the case the past two years, teams will be paired geographically from the First Round through the Fourth Round. After the Fourth Round, a geographically-based random draw will take place to determine the Round of 16 matchups and set a fixed bracket to the Final, scheduled for Sept. 20.
The Lamar Hunt Open Cup, a tiered-bracket, single-game knockout competition, began 104 years ago and is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer. It is named after Lamar Hunt, who is a soccer pioneer that was the principal founder of the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer.
Last year, the club had a record-breaking performance in its 5-0 win against the Charlotte Independence. The team scored all five goals in added time in a stunning display of dominance that marked the most goals in added time in an Open Cup game.
In addition, the club has acted as an upset artist frequently, booting MLS team L.A. Galaxy from the Open Cup three times in a row and Chivas USA twice, as well as other MLS teams. Also, the club made it to the semi-final match of the Open Cup in 2007, in the team’s inaugural season and the Quarterfinals in 2013 and 2014.
North Carolina FC will begin the 2017 NASL campaign on March 25 and North Carolina FC season tickets are now on sale. Fans interested in more information about membership should visit www.NorthCarolinaFC.com or call the NCFC Box Office at 919-459-8144.