While they may not know who they'll face, the Philadelphia Union, Harrisburg City Islanders, and Reading United all know when they're scheduled to start play in the 102nd Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tournament. The tournament's initial pairings will be announced on April 8, with the Play-in Matches taking place between April 22 to 26. The First Round will see the entrance of 40 amateur sides - including the USL PDL's Reading United A.C. - into the tournament on May 13. On May 20, the USL PRO clubs including the Harrisburg City Islanders will come in during the Second Round to face those who advanced from the First Round. The Third Round sees NASL clubs being added in on May 27 to face the Second Round winners. The winners of the Third Round will then face off against the Major League Soccer clubs - including the Philadelphia Union - on June 16 and 17. The Fifth Round draw will take place on June 18, with the Fifth Round match happening on June 30 and July 1. The Quarterfinals will take place on July 21 and 22, the Semifinals on August 11 and 12, and the Final on either September 29 or 30.
The new wrinkle in this year's U.S. Open Cup is the "geographically-based random draw that will determine the Round of 16 matches and set a fixed bracket to the Final." This looks to alleviate travel headaches for clubs while still retaining a random element to the tournament. Also "teams that have a shared-ownership affiliation (are) precluded from being in the same cluster." This ostensibly means that if the New York Red Bulls and the New York Red Bulls USL PRO teams make it to the Round of 16 that they'll be excluded from playing one another, however what isn't spelled out is if the Harrisburg City Islanders and Philadelphia Union would be excluded from playing one another (since they're under different ownership groups) or if the Anschutz Entertainment Group teams LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo would be excluded from facing one another.