What MLS clubs plan to do when the Open Cup format gets released will say a whole lot

The ongoing feud between Major League Soccer and organizers of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continues as what appears to be a slow phase out of MLS teams sending their first teams to compete in America’s oldest pro-am soccer tournament is well underway.

On Wednesday, ESPN soccer reporter Jeff Carlisle tweeted that just eight MLS clubs plan to enter their first teams in the MLS portion of the tournament. There was talk previously of clubs sending their contingent of MLS Next Pro teams to vie for the trophy, which many feel and have a strong argument towards would ultimately neutralize interest since essentially you’d have amateur and semi-professional clubs playing against second-tier MLS rosters.

All of this is due largely to the League looking to steer interest towards Leagues Cup, the upstart tournament that pits MLS clubs against Liga MX competition. Leagues Cup had strong interest when it first landed last July with excitement growing exponentially after Inter Miami and Lionel Messi in his first year ran through teams en route to collecting the inaugural trophy.

The history of MLS in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is well documented. An MLS club has won the tournament every year since 2000, with Seattle and Kansas City boasting the most Open Cup titles (four) in the MLS era.

Additionally, there are teams like New York City FC and Hudson River rival in the New York Red Bulls that its said don’t plan to participate in the U.S. Open Cup this year. These types of omissions don’t help the case that teams are seeing value in playing in the Open Cup — or could it be solidarity in that they wouldn’t field essentially a “B” team against other clubs.

We’re guessing its the former and hoping for the latter. Non-MLS clubs and their fans all competing for entrance into the tournament will wait and see which MLS teams get pulled, and which ones will field No. 2 teams.

Either way, the drama isn’t over and by the looks of it might even get more toxic.

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