Which MLS teams have the best chance of winning the U.S. Open Cup?

May 14, 2024 | Sports | 0 comments

Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are nine MLS-affiliated teams left in the tournament. Who has the best chance of winning?

The 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has hit the Round of 32, and the competition resumes with 16 matches. For the first time in this year’s edition of the tournament, the MLS teams will enter the competition, but only 8 of them will fight for the oldest trophy in American soccer.

Atlanta United, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, LAFC, Sporting Kansas City, and Real Salt Lake will join the lone remaining MLS Next Pro team, New York City FC II, in the Round of 32. Awaiting them are 23 other teams from the USL Championship and USL League One who hope to take them out as punishment for the league deciding to not fully compete in the tournament.

So, which MLS teams have the best chance of getting out of their division and making a run for it all? Let’s first take a look at the divisions for the Round of 32:

Make no mistake, the MLS-affiliated teams have some work to do, and the rest of the field will not make it easy for them. So let’s rank the MLS-affiliated teams with the best chance at lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy.

9. New York City FC II

NYCFC II has the toughest time as the lone MLS Next Pro team left. They’re also grouped with MLS side Real Salt Lake and they line up against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL-C) in their first match. New Mexico United (USL-C) is also in their division, which means they not only will have to travel should they win, they will be stretched very thin with their roster.

8. Seattle Sounders

Seattle has a really tough group, as they face Louisville City (USL-C) in their first match. Should they win, North Carolina FC (USL-C) or Phoenix Rising (USL-C) await them in the Round of 16.

7. FC Dallas

FC Dallas might be the weakest MLS team in the field, and the draw did them no favors in setting them up with some difficult teams who take the U.S. Open Cup seriously. They host Memphis 901 (USL-C) in the Round of 32, and either Birmingham Legion (USL-C) or the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL-C) await in the Round of 16.

6. Houston Dynamo

The defending U.S. Open Cup champions drew a difficult division, where they face hot Detroit City (USL-C) in the Round of 32. Indy Eleven (USL-C) and San Antonio FC (USL-C) could be their Round of 16 matchup, so you have 3 teams with experience beating MLS teams in the tournament and wanting to take out the defending champs.

5. Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City have their work cut out for them, as they face Union Omaha (USL-1) next week and could see either FC Tulsa (USL-C) or the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-C) in the Round of 16.

4. San Jose Earthquakes

The Quakes have a difficult group, but they’re one of the MLS teams that won’t have to travel very far. They host the Oakland Roots (USL-C) and then face the winner of Sacramento Republic (USL-C) and Monterey Bay FC (USL-1), so even if they hit the road, they’re playing a team that could be considered a lower division rival and they will remain focused as a result.

3. Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake has been on a tear lately and they have a real chance to run the table in the U.S. Open Cup. They take on New Mexico United (USL-C) on the road, but they also have NYCFC II (MLSNP) and Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL-C) in their group, and they should continue their run and set themselves up to go for the trophy.

2. LAFC

LAFC is one of the MLS teams that have to open on the road, but they do so against the Las Vegas Lights (USL-C), who they had an affiliation with for years. With Loudoun United (USL-C) and Orange County SC (USL-C) also in their bracket, LAFC is the class of this division and arguably the best team in the field.

1. Atlanta United

Atlanta has the best combination of being a good team in a division that they should be able to handle. They take on the Charlotte Independence (USL-C) and would face the winner of Charleston Battery (USL-C) and South Georgia Tormenta (USL-1). Their roster should be built to make the longest run in this tournament and potentially lift the trophy for a 2nd time.

The Round of 32 should be something special, and while many are rooting for the Cupsets, fans of these 9 teams are hoping for Open Cup glory when their teams take the field.

[#item_full_content]Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are nine MLS-affiliated teams left in the tournament. Who has the best chance of winning? The 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has hit the Round of 32, and the competition resumes with 16 matches. For the first time in this year’s edition of the tournament, the MLS teams will enter the competition, but only 8 of them will fight for the oldest trophy in American soccer.
Atlanta United, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, LAFC, Sporting Kansas City, and Real Salt Lake will join the lone remaining MLS Next Pro team, New York City FC II, in the Round of 32. Awaiting them are 23 other teams from the USL Championship and USL League One who hope to take them out as punishment for the league deciding to not fully compete in the tournament.
So, which MLS teams have the best chance of getting out of their division and making a run for it all? Let’s first take a look at the divisions for the Round of 32:

Make no mistake, the MLS-affiliated teams have some work to do, and the rest of the field will not make it easy for them. So let’s rank the MLS-affiliated teams with the best chance at lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy.
9. New York City FC II
NYCFC II has the toughest time as the lone MLS Next Pro team left. They’re also grouped with MLS side Real Salt Lake and they line up against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL-C) in their first match. New Mexico United (USL-C) is also in their division, which means they not only will have to travel should they win, they will be stretched very thin with their roster.
8. Seattle Sounders
Seattle has a really tough group, as they face Louisville City (USL-C) in their first match. Should they win, North Carolina FC (USL-C) or Phoenix Rising (USL-C) await them in the Round of 16.
7. FC Dallas
FC Dallas might be the weakest MLS team in the field, and the draw did them no favors in setting them up with some difficult teams who take the U.S. Open Cup seriously. They host Memphis 901 (USL-C) in the Round of 32, and either Birmingham Legion (USL-C) or the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL-C) await in the Round of 16.
6. Houston Dynamo
The defending U.S. Open Cup champions drew a difficult division, where they face hot Detroit City (USL-C) in the Round of 32. Indy Eleven (USL-C) and San Antonio FC (USL-C) could be their Round of 16 matchup, so you have 3 teams with experience beating MLS teams in the tournament and wanting to take out the defending champs.
5. Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City have their work cut out for them, as they face Union Omaha (USL-1) next week and could see either FC Tulsa (USL-C) or the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-C) in the Round of 16.
4. San Jose Earthquakes
The Quakes have a difficult group, but they’re one of the MLS teams that won’t have to travel very far. They host the Oakland Roots (USL-C) and then face the winner of Sacramento Republic (USL-C) and Monterey Bay FC (USL-1), so even if they hit the road, they’re playing a team that could be considered a lower division rival and they will remain focused as a result.
3. Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake has been on a tear lately and they have a real chance to run the table in the U.S. Open Cup. They take on New Mexico United (USL-C) on the road, but they also have NYCFC II (MLSNP) and Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL-C) in their group, and they should continue their run and set themselves up to go for the trophy.
2. LAFC
LAFC is one of the MLS teams that have to open on the road, but they do so against the Las Vegas Lights (USL-C), who they had an affiliation with for years. With Loudoun United (USL-C) and Orange County SC (USL-C) also in their bracket, LAFC is the class of this division and arguably the best team in the field.
1. Atlanta United
Atlanta has the best combination of being a good team in a division that they should be able to handle. They take on the Charlotte Independence (USL-C) and would face the winner of Charleston Battery (USL-C) and South Georgia Tormenta (USL-1). Their roster should be built to make the longest run in this tournament and potentially lift the trophy for a 2nd time.
The Round of 32 should be something special, and while many are rooting for the Cupsets, fans of these 9 teams are hoping for Open Cup glory when their teams take the field.SBNation.com – All Posts

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