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MLS pulls out of 2024 US Open Cup

Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew took on Pittsburgh Riverhounds in US Open Cup at Highmark Stadium in May 2023. Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

Major League Soccer teams will not compete in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the league announced Friday.  Instead, MLS will have its developmental teams, which play in third-division MLS Next Pro, partake in the nation’s oldest ongoing tournament, which was first held in 1914.

This will certainly throw a major wrench in the tournament, where the Pittsburgh Riverhounds made their most impressive run in club history in 2023, defeating both New England Revolution and eventual MLS Cup champions, Columbus Crew, before losing to FC Cincinnati, in the Quarterfinal Round.

MLS announced the decision Friday night and said it was made by its board of governors. MLS said the change will provide opportunities for developing players and reduce schedule congestion for the first-team roster.

Houston beat Inter Miami this year in the U.S. Open Cup final, earning a berth next year in the CONCACAF Champions League. Miami star Lionel Messi was injured and missed the match.

A preliminary Open Cup schedule has been announced by U.S. Soccer, as reported earlier this week on Pittsburgh Soccer Now, Pittsburgh’s first amateur club since 2017 to compete in the proper tournament, Steel City FC of National Premier Soccer League, are officially in the field and projected to enter the tournament in the first round, which is scheduled to begin in March.

The Riverhounds were initially projected to enter the tournament in the second round, but due to the news from Friday, that may change, if U.S. Soccer and tournament officials could reconsider the tournament set-up, and could bump back teams from the USL Championship (U.S. Soccer’s second division) into the tournament’s third round.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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