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2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup sees format changes

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Lots of interesting little changes are coming to the USOC in 2015.

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will kick off another year in April, will feature a record number of participating teams and will get a revised format starting in the Round of 16 setting a fixed bracket to the championship match.

The tournament will feature 91 clubs this year, up from the 80 that competed a year ago. The tournament will be played over the course of five months with the opening play-in matches of the tournament taking place from April 22-26 and culminating with the final on Sept. 29 or 30.

Once again the winner will earn $250,000 and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.

FC Dallas will be one of 17 MLS clubs that will enter the tournament in the fourth round. After each Third Round matchup has been determined, 15 of 17 MLS teams will be paired geographically to a specific Third Round matchup and be scheduled to play these winners, while two MLS teams will face each other to complete the bracket.

According to the press release sent out by US Soccer, the Fourth Round winners will be divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who have a shared-ownership affiliation precluded from being in the same group. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group, resulting in a fixed bracket for the remainder of the tournament. Should two ownership-affiliated teams reach the semifinal round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn after the quarterfinals to avoid this outcome.