U.S. Soccer announced considerable adjustments to the 2021 U.S. Open Cup format on Monday, and MLS announced the format for teams to qualify for the tournament as a result. The gist for the LA Galaxy? You better start the season hot if you want to play in the Open Cup.
U.S. Soccer slashed the Open Cup tournament format in half, reducing the entire thing down to 16 teams. That does not decrease the number of MLS entrants, but the league confirmed what had been reported about Open Cup qualification this year: The 24 eligible teams will battle for one of the eight slots out of MLS by picking up points in the first three matchdays of the 2021 season.
That’s right, the teams that have the highest points per game averages through May 3 will get the slots. As you might imagine, the possibility of tiebreakers needed is pretty high, and the MLS regulations go eight deep on potential tiebreakers to be used, with goal differential per match being the top tiebreaker.
Just a reminder, the Galaxy’s first three games of the season are at Inter Miami, at home against the New York Red Bulls, and at Seattle Sounders. It’s a new season, you never know, but that’s maybe not the easiest slate to start. But it’s what LA have to work with, and if they want to go for the U.S. Open Cup, they’ll have to rack up points early and often.
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