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Depending on how dialed in you are to the inner workings of U.S. Soccer — which, in case you’re wondering, is a spectrum that ranges from “Oh, hey, I hear the U.S. qualified for the World Cup” to “I recently got a tattoo of Christian Pulisic on my shoulder” — you may or may not be aware that the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is back for 2022. You may or may not also be aware that Minnesota United will soon be entering said tournament … in a yet-unknown round against a yet-unknown opponent on a yet-unknown date hosted at a yet-unknown venue.

If that last sentence left you feeling like you just watched two and a half hours of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet without subtitles, you’re not alone. The tournament is, admittedly, a bit complex. But not to worry. We put together a handy little guide to answer all your burning questions about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and when you can expect to see Minnesota United in action

What is the U.S. Open Cup?

Despite what its name may have you thinking, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is not a trophy handed to the winner of the tennis tournament in New York or the golf tournament wherever that’s hosted this year. Rather, it’s a single-elimination soccer tournament designed to crown the top soccer club in the United States. The twist? Pretty much any team can compete: MLS teams, USL teams, NPSL teams, your uncle’s rec-league team (well, maybe not them, but some of the better amateur teams can compete).

Who is Lamar Hunt and didn’t he own an NFL team?

Indeed he did. In addition to being the founding owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt was also one of the founding investors of Major League Soccer and a hugely-influential figure in the growth of the sport in America. Rumor has it, he also coined the term “Super Bowl" — though now we’re talking about the wrong sport entirely.

So when does the tournament start?

It already has, actually. The first round of games occurred on March 22-23 and featured matchups between teams like Des Moines Menace and Minneapolis City SC, Denton Diablos FC and D'Feeters Kicks Soccer Club (which might be the coolest team name in the history of team names), and a bunch of other clubs you’ve probably never heard of unless you know way more about this stuff than the author of this piece.

And when does Minnesota United join the tournament?

Minnesota United will enter the tournament in the Third Round (played April 19-21), along with 16 other MLS teams. 8 additional MLS teams will enter in the following round, the Round of 32.

How do they decide which MLS teams enter the tournament in which round?

The top 4 clubs in the Eastern and Western conference in the previous season (according to regular-season standings) receive an automatic bye to the round of 32.

Okay, so when do they draw this piece of paper?

The Third Round Draw will occur on Friday, April 8. That's when Minnesota United will find out if they are playing in the Round of 32, and if so, their opponent and match location.

So say the Loons are drawn to participate in the Round of 32; when is their first game?

Either April 19, 20, or 21. The match date will be confirmed once the opponent is locked in.

And is it home or away?

Could be either. It all rests in the metaphorical hands of the magical piece of paper.

And what happens if Minnesota United wins in the Third Round?

Play till you lose, baby! If the Loons win, they will advance to the next round, the Round of 32, where they will face an opponent to be determined during a draw on April 22.

And would MNUFC host that next game, or any of the others?

All TBD. Before each round, there’s a new draw to determine the matchups and host location. Here’s the timing for the entire tournament:

Round
Draw Date
Match Date
Third Round
April 8
April 19-21
Round of 32
April 22
May 10-11
Round of 16
May 12
May 24-25
Quarterfinals
May 12
June 21-22
Semifinals
June 23
July 26-27
Final
June 23
September 6-7 or 13-14

Side question ... you said it’s single-elimination. Does that mean there are no ties?

Correct. All games are elimination rules, meaning that if there is a tie at the end of regulation, we play two 15-minute extra time periods. If we’re still tied, we go to penalty kicks.

Okay, so there’s a draw this Friday that will determine if MNUFC enters the tournament in this upcoming round or the next one, as well as their opponent and match location?

Now you’re getting it!

So should I even care about this?

Only if you like shiny trophies, $300,000 cash, an automatic bid to the CONCACAF Champions League and the chance to call yourself the best soccer team in America.

Okay, but can Minnesota United actually win this thing?

Well, the last time the tournament was played in 2019, the Loons made it all the way to the championship match before losing to Atlanta United. So yeah, we've got a chance.

Okay, you’ve sold me. How do I get tickets?

As soon as the match is locked in, tickets for any U.S. Open Cup match at Allianz Field will be available at SeatGeek.com/MNUFC.

Interested in group tickets or premium rental spaces for upcoming U.S. Open Cup matches at Allianz Field? Fill out this brief interest form to have a very nice MNUFC ticket representative reach out to you with more info.