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X reacts to Major League Soccer withdrawing from 2024 US Open Cup


Major League Soccer recently announced the decision to withdraw their first teams from the 2024 US Open Cup and instead have their MLS Next Pro affiliate sides replace them in the competition, a decision that was met with all kinds of reactions online.

The decision shocked all soccer supporters in the United States, as the Open Cup is the oldest tournament that the sport has dating back to 1914. Many see the whole scenario as MLS tossing the prestigious competition to the side as if they have outgrown it, even if it’s only for the 2024 season as of right now.

It doesn’t take long to get to the reasoning behind MLS withdrawing their first teams from the competition. US Open Cup doesn’t bring in nearly as much revenue though ticket sales and media contracts like the CONCACAF Champions Cup and Leagues Cup, which shows that the priority of the league is solely driven on profiting (it is a business, after all) rather than “advancing the game of soccer all throughout the country.”

This is true. The FA Cup is seen as the trophy to take home in England, as it’s valued much more than the Carabao Cup. This is essentially what MLS is doing by sending in MLS Next Pro sides to play for the first teams.

MLS will argue that fixture congestion is one of the reasons for this whole scenario — which isn’t wrong. But what they seem to forget is that they brought all of this scheduling mayhem upon themselves by creating Leagues Cup to go along with the regular season, the postseason that they change the formatting of every-other-year and the CCC.

Even a former player is up in arms over the decision. And it’s not just any player: Longtime MLS midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who made over 300 league appearances before retiring with LA Galaxy in 2022.

He brings up a key part of the cup’s rich history, but that also goes deeper into the aspect of all of the non-MLS sides that are in the States. Many of them are already struggling (see San Diego Loyal in the USL), and not allowing them to get valuable exposure in this setting would spell certain doom for many of the teams that can’t financially compete with MLS.

This one hits the nail on the head. You can’t sit there and complain about an Open Cup game being broadcast on YouTube while simultaneously advocating for Leagues Cup that doesn’t draw in any viewers with non-MLS teams.

If MLS is so worried about fixture congestion, perhaps look at Leagues Cup and decide if it’s really necessary every season when MLS sides already compete in an international tournament such as CCC.

The point is understandable here, but Sacha’s post remains true; The Open Cup is the only tournament the US has to offer in soccer that has history behind it.

Even if teams struggle to bring in large crowds for Open Cup games, the idea that a USL team/semi-professional team could end up beating an MLS team is still brilliant. That’s what the ‘magic of the cup’ is all about.

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