MLS News: S2 Not Allowed in 2016 US Open Cup

MLS - US Open Cup

Sep 16, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; The US Open Cup before the start of the U.S. Open Cup final between the Philadelphia Union and the Seattle Sounders FC at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

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.

“Any Outdoor Professional League Team that is majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team shall be ineligible to participate in the Open Cup.
The amendment explicitly states: “Any Outdoor Professional League Team that is majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team shall be ineligible to participate in the Open Cup. The Open Cup Committee shall review and determine team eligibility annually pursuant to this provision and report its decisions to the National Board of Directors.”

 

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.

MLS - US Open Cup

Aug 13, 2014; Tukwila, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Chad Barrett (19) celebrates with the fans after scoring a goal against the Chicago Fire during the first half at Starfire Soccer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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.