U.S. Open Cup | A quick primer on the century-plus competition returning in 2022

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After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the century-plus old Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament returned in 2022 and on Tuesday evening, the Portland Timbers will make their first appearance in it since 2019 when they travel to take on Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium (7:30pm PT, ESPN+).

What is the U.S. Open Cup?

The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest domestic soccer competition in the United States and one of the oldest in the world with the first competition having occurred in 1914 when Brooklyn Field Club won the first-ever trophy donated by Scottish whiskey distiller Thomas Dewar.

What's the structure?

Over 100 teams participate in the tournament with it being open to all levels of the U.S. soccer pyramid. The 25 U.S. clubs of Major League Soccer are given Division I status with 17 of them entering the competition in the Third Round. The remaining eight join in the Round of 32 which included the four US. entrants into the 2022 Concacaf Champions League and the next two best American 2021 regular-season finishers in each of the league's Eastern and Western Conferences – the latter category here including the Timbers.

Major League Soccer began play in the tournament in 1996 as the top flight level in U.S. soccer. While there are the occasional "cupsets" of lower division teams defeating higher division opponents, no lower division team has won the trophy since 1999 (Rochester Rhinos) and none have made it to the final since 2008 (Charleston Battery).

LAFC advanced to Tuesday's Round of 32 match with a 5-1 victory over the USL Championship's Orange County SC on April 20 in the tournament's Third Round.

What's on the line?

The tournament is a single-game, knockout tournament meaning win or go home. Advance all the way to the final and the 2022 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, their name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League. The runner-up receives $100,000.