After a two-year hiatus, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is coming back in 2022, which for the Philadelphia Union means an added competition kicking off in May.
U.S. Soccer announced the format for the 2022 competition on Wednesday, confirming that the Union will enter in the Round of 32. The draw for the round will be held April 22 and the Union will play on either May 10 or 11.
The timing will be less than ideal for the Union in their busiest travel month of the MLS regular season. They’ll travel to Nashville for a game on May 1 and to Los Angeles six days later to take on LAFC. That will give them only three or four days with cross country travel involved between games.
The Round of 16 will be played May 24 or 25, which is two or three days after another cross country road trip to Portland on May 22.
The Union last played in the competition in 2019 when they lost 2-1 to D.C. United on the road after extra time. They’ve advanced to the final three times, losing to Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City in back-to-back years at home in 2014 and 2015 and to Houston Dynamo on the road in 2018.
USL League Two and NPSL teams in the competition will officially be announced after the Dec. 31 professional division confirmation deadline. The first round will be played March 22-23, followed by the second round on April 5-7. USL Championship, USL League One and NISA clubs will enter in the second round. MLS Next Pro will have two entries in to the competition in the second round, independent team Rochester NY FC and St. Louis City SC, which gets an opportunity to play in the competition in the one season before the MLS kicks off in 2023.
Seventeen MLS teams will enter the third round on April 19-21, followed by the Union and seven other MLS teams in the Round of 32.
2022 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Jan. 6 Open Division berth allocation announced
Jan. 19 First Round pairings announced
Jan. 26 Second Round pairings and possible pairings announced
March 22-23 First Round (Open Division teams enter)
April 5-7 Second Round (Division II and III teams enter)
April 8 Third Round Draw
April 19-21 Third Round (17 Division I teams enter)
April 22 Round of 32 Draw
May 10-11 Round of 32 (remaining 8 Division I teams enter)
May 12 Round of 16/Quarterfinal Draw
May 24-25 Round of 16
June 21-22 Quarterfinals
June 23 Semifinal/Final Hosting Draw
July 26-27 Semifinals
Sept. 6-7 or 13-14 Final