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MLS qualification procedure for 2021 US Open Cup revealed

FC Dallas’ path to a trophy in 2021 got a little clearer and shorter.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup Final-New York Red Bulls at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer announced on Monday the MLS club qualification procedure for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The US-based MLS clubs with the highest number of regular-season points per game at the conclusion of the first three weeks of MLS play will qualify for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

For FC Dallas, this means the results from home games against the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers and a road game against the San Jose Earthquakes are now vital in terms of getting into the tournament this year.

The USOC has also been reduced from 24 to 16 clubs. The tournament committee has decided not to hold the tournament’s previously planned Opening Round, citing challenges still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 16 teams will be pooled on a geographic basis into groups of four, with each quartet consisting of two Division I teams and two lower division sides.

The Round of 16 Draw, scheduled for May 4, will also decide the pairings and home teams for the Quarterfinal Round while setting the bracket for the remainder of the tournament.

A separate draw after the Quarterfinal Round will determine the Semifinal Round hosts and the priority order for hosting the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

MLS tiebreakers for USOC qualification

In the event that two or more teams have an equal number of points per game, the below regular-season tiebreakers will be used until one team ranks above the other(s). After the winner of the MLS regular season tiebreaker is determined, any remaining tied clubs will again go through a second round of the MLS tiebreakers in order to determine the next advancing club. The tiebreaker system will continue until qualification has been determined.

  1. Goal Differential (GD) per match (Goals For per match minus Goals Against per match)
  2. Goals For (GF) per match
  3. Fewest Disciplinary Points* per match
  4. Away Goals Differential per Away match (Away Goals For per Away match minus Away Goals Against per Away match)
  5. Away Goals For per Away match
  6. Home Goals Differential per Home match (Home Goals For per Home match minus Home Goals Against per Home match)
  7. Home Goals For per Home match
  8. Coin Toss (tie of two clubs) or Drawing of Lots (tie of three or more clubs)