S2 will not compete in the 2016 US Open Cup. The board of directors have passed an amendment that now bans all MLS owned USL teams from competing in the competition.
The amendment means that S2, Portland Timbers 2, LA Galaxy 2, New York Red Bulls 2, Real Monarchs, Orlando City B, Bethlehem Steel and Swope Park Rangers will all be banned.
No official reasoning has been given for the rule change, although the MLS teams themselves are speculated to be the main culprit causing the rule change.
A number of MLS owned USL teams were deemed to be guilty of fielding sides that were under full strength for their UP Open Cup games. The logic behind this being that the MLS clubs were dictating who could and couldn’t play.
Why? Well, by playing for the USL version of the MLS club, a player becomes cup-tied and can no longer play in the same competition for any other side – including their MLS parent side.
As a result, MLS sides have been found to be instructing USL sides to bench certain players in case they are needed at some stage during the MLS sides cup run.
With a number of MLS sides having a packed schedule and some even having CONCACAF Champions League as well, clubs are guilty of calling up players from the likes of S2 in order to keep their normal starting squad fit.
The news comes as a blow for S2 and indeed all MLS owned USL sides. The US Open Cup has previously been a good source of providing players with experience against MLS sides, while also raising good awareness for the sides and USL in general.