Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC 2 and New York Cosmos B, all squads in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), a national affiliate league of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association, have been invited to participate in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The decision was taken by U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee earlier this week. The three teams have until Monday, April 2 at 4 p.m. ET to confirm their participation. A statement on the decision from the Open Cup Committee is as follows:
“The Committee carefully considered the teams’ exceptional situation which involved all three moving from Professional Division II status in 2017 to solely Open Division league participation earlier this year. Since the move occurred after the Open Division league’s 2018 Open Cup entry deadline in mid-2017, the Committee decided to allow the three teams the opportunity to compete in the 2018 edition of the U.S. Open Cup.”
Upon confirming their participation, the three teams will enter the competition via a Play-In Round scheduled for the weekend of May 5-6. The winners of these play-in games will advance to the First Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 9.
The opponents in the Play-In Round will be one team drawn from the NPSL and two from the Premier Development League (PDL) who have already qualified for the competition and are in close geographical proximity to the three invited teams. After identifying the list of possible opponents meeting this criteria, the exact opponents will be selected by random draw in cases where multiple options exist.
The opponents of the three invited teams will be given first option to host their Play-In game, with U.S. Soccer covering reasonable and standard venue license fees and referee expenses for this round only should the already-qualified teams elect to host.
As part of the entry process, Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC 2 and New York Cosmos B must confirm their home venue for the Play-In Round and First Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by April 3 at 4 p.m. ET. In the event of a scheduling conflict between the Open Cup Play-In Round and an existing league match, a team in this situation will be required to reschedule its league match in order to continue participation in the tournament. All Play-In Round games will be played under official Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rules, including roster provisions and discipline.
Miami FC reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The New York Cosmos reached the Round of 16 three years in a row (2014, 2015 and 2016) while the Jacksonville Armada reached the Fourth Round in 2016.