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Major Changes Announced to US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League

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With all the transfer and MLS draft news, this has gotten lost in the shuffle but I wanted to address it now that things have slowed down a bit. The US Open Cup has been a flawed competition for many years now with weird qualifying stages and the absurd bidding system that has seen some teams host game after game at home while others hardly pay the competition any mind.

US Soccer has taken major steps to change that by introducing a majorly retooled format. Under the new format, there will be 64 teams with the first round pitting 32 amateur teams against each other, the 16 winners from those games facing the 16 American USL/NASL in the second round and the 16 winners of those games taking on the 16 American MLS teams in the third round. Matchups will be roughly geographic based and here's the big kicker, the home team will be determined by random draw until the semifinals. Also, the schedule for the competition will be greatly sped up with the MLS clubs entering play on May 29 and the tournament finishing by August 7 or 8.

While it's still not quite perfect, the third round of the US Open Cup will be one of the most exciting weeks of the whole year with 16 games taking place across the country matching MLS teams against lower league sides. The tournament has finally become a true national knockout-style tournament.

Changes to the CONCACAF Champions League after the jump

The CONCACAF Champions League has announced changes that will aim to reduce the number of games in the tournament and make every game more meaningful. Under the new system, taking effect in 2012-2013, there will be no more qualifying round and the 24 teams will be put into eight groups of three teams each. The winner of each group will advance into the quarterfinal reducing the number of games in preliminary rounds from as many as eight games to four games.

Schellas Hyndman must be wondering where all these changes were when Dallas needed them last year, but I commend CONCACAF and US Soccer for improving both competitions.