Lower-tier “farm teams” ousted from 2016 US Open Cup

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In a statement released on Thursday the U.S. Soccer Federation has banned a handful of teams from competing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this season.

Soccer’s governing body in the U.S. said that “any Outdoor Professional League Team that is majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team or any team that is (1) majority owned by an Outdoor Professional League Team, (2) registered with any Open Division League, and (3) registered as a professional team, will not be able to take part in the Open Cup.”

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The eight teams who will not compete in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup are as follows:

Bethlehem Steel (Philadelphia Union), LA Galaxy II, New York Red Bulls II, Orlando City B, Portland Timbers 2, Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake), Seattle Sounders 2 and Swope Park Rangers KC (Kansas City).

This decision comes after the U.S. Open Cup Committee and National Board of Directors chose to revise its Open Cup policies and “addressed team eligibility to encompass the principle of professional teams entering only their highest-level professional team.”

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Last season two of the aforementioned MLS reserve squads, Seattle Sounders 2 and Portland Timbers 2, reached the third round of the Open Cup where they faced off. Seattle 2 prevailed but lost 2-1 to Real Salt Lake in the fourth round.

With the initiative between Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League coming into play in 2012 and stating that every MLS club must have either a self-funded reserve squad or chose to partner with an existing USL franchise to aid the development of young players in MLS, this situation was always going to crop up and U.S. Soccer has stepped in to deal with it correctly.