The 2020 U.S. Open Cup has officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Monday.
In its announcement, the USSF said that the pandemic has had adverse impacts on travel, limited or eliminated fans in the stands at games, and necessitated strict testing protocols. These factors led the USSF’s Open Cup Committee to cancel the tournament.
The development means that the competition’s streak of being held every year since 1914 — even in times of war — has come to an end.
“Despite this setback, the importance and significance of U.S. Soccer’s National Championship continues to grow, and we look forward to launching the 2021 tournament next spring with the same enthusiasm that was planned for this year’s 100-team competition,” said Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller. “Every club cherishes the chance to compete for a major national trophy and the U.S. Open Cup will be waiting for them next year.”
The committee also cancelled 2021 Open Division qualifying, which was to be held this fall for teams from local amateur leagues looking to advance to next year’s tournament.
The 38 Open Division teams from the Local Qualifying track and eligible National Leagues (National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two) who had qualified for the 2020 competition and who maintain Open Cup eligibility through next year will automatically be invited for 2021.
The reallocation of the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League berth awarded to the USOC champion will be determined in the future, though CONCACAF agreed to allow MLS to grant a CCL slot to the winner of the MLS is Back tournament, recently won by the Portland Timbers.
The cancellation had long been expected after the competition was suspended in March, when leagues in a variety of sports went on hiatus due to the coronavirus. Since then, two amateur leagues — the fourth tier USL League Two and the National Premier Soccer League — canceled their seasons.
Those that opted to continue such as MLS, USL Championship, USL League One and NISA have since been trying to play as much of their regular season as possible. That led to a scarcity of dates in which to get USOC games in.