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U.S. Open Cup first and second rounds announced, Cosmos could play at St. John's

The Cosmos will enter in the tournament's third round, and the matchups for the first two rounds have now been set

Mike Stobe

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.