The U.S. Open Cup has now officially announced the dates for each of the eight rounds of the competition, which will begin on May 7 this year. Those dates are as follows:
Round 1 (May 7): 16 amateur clubs
Round 2 (May 14): 8 First Round winners + 26 remaining amateur clubs + 14 USL Pro clubs
Round 3 (May 28): 24 Second Round winners + 8 NASL clubs
Round 4 (June 10-18): 16 Third Round winners + 16 MLS clubs
Round 5 (June 24-25): 16 Fourth Round winners
Quarterfinals (July 8-9): 8 Fifth Round winners
Semifinals (Aug. 12-13): 4 Quarterfinal winners
Final (Sept. 30-Oct. 1): 2 Semifinals winners
The matchups for the first two rounds are already set, with those ties arranged with geography in mind in order to reduce travel costs. Round three, where the Cosmos enter the competition, has not yet been drawn.
Should the Cosmos be selected to host a game during round three, they'd have to do so away from their home at Hofstra due to scheduling conflicts. Big Apple Soccer spoke with Eric Stover about that, and it sounds as if the club will be looking to play at St. John's should they be awarded that game. Future matchups could also pose an issue later on in the tournament due to the availability of Shuart Stadium.
If New York advances past the third round, round four offers a possible weekend date. Because both MLS and the NASL will be in a break for the World Cup, there is plenty of flexibility for the tournament to leave it up to the home side to select the date. The caveat there is that the home side must leave the visitor at least two days of rest following their last match, something that will not come into play for the Cosmos unless they are the away side.