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Now, it’s getting good: After a round of 16 several weeks ago that saw the defending champs (Houston Dynamo) dethroned, and featured two top-level teams upset by second-division underdogs, the U.S. Open Cup—America’s annual free-for-all soccer competition—is moving into the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. Four matches will determine the four teams moving on the semifinals Aug. 7, with the finals playing out at the end of the month. Here’s everything you need to know to live stream the U.S. Open Cup for free.
What is the U.S. Open Cup?
Now known as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, after the groundbreaking Major League Soccer (and National Football League) owner, the tournament started in 1914 to crown a champion of American soccer. The tournament allows lower-division professional teams—and the occasional amateur team—to challenge teams in MLS, the league at the top of the American soccer pyramid, and USL Championship, the league right below them in the pecking order. By the time the quarterfinals roll around, the tournament is dominated by MLS teams, though this year, New Mexico United and St. Louis FC have played well enough to get to this level of the competition. U.S. Soccer, the governing body for soccer in the U.S., has grouped the country into four regions—West, Midwest, Mideast, and East—and Wednesday’s quarterfinals will serve as the de facto championships for those regions.
Which U.S. Open Cup matches take place Wednesday?
There are four Open Cup matches taking place on Wednesday, all streaming on ESPN+:
St. Louis FC at Atlanta United, Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia, 7:30pm ET
NYCFC at Orlando City SC, Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, 7:30pm ET
New Mexico United at Minnesota United FC, Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, 8pm ET
Portland Timbers at LAFC, Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California, 10:30pm ET
Of the remaining teams, LAFC has compiled the best record, looks on track for a Supporters’ Shield title for the best regular-season record, and could be formidable in the MLS Cup Playoffs, especially if Golden Boot leader Carlos Vela stays in form. NYCFC just saw a 12-match win streak snapped by a Portland Timbers team still in the U.S. Open Cup mix, largely thanks to the just-keeps-scoring Brian Fernandez, acquired midseason from Liga MX team Necaxa. Atlanta United, still the reigning MLS Cup champions, have reconfigured under new coach Frank de Boer and appear to be hitting stride following a rough early-season transition.
U.S. Open Cup live stream: Watch U.S. Open Cup matches online
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN+ is a subscription service that extends ESPN’s existing website and app, and it’s essential for soccer fans in particular, carrying U.S. Open Cup matches, as well as Serie A+, MLS, USL, Copa America, and FA Cup matches. It encompasses other sporting events as well, including 20 exclusive UFC Fight Night events per year, 180 NHL games, at least one MLB game a day for every day of the season, and a cornucopia of college sports.
ESPN+ also features the network’s sports talk programming, and it features original series starting with the entire 30 for 30 catalog that ESPN made its name on. It also unlocks more content and fewer ads on the ESPN site.
The service offers a free introductory trial.
U.S. Open Cup winners
- 2018: Houston Dynamo
- 2017: Sporting Kansas City
- 2016: FC Dallas
- 2015: Sporting Kansas City
- 2014: Seattle Sounders FC
- 2013: D.C. United
- 2012: Sporting Kansas City
- 2011: Seattle Sounders FC
- 2010: Seattle Sounders FC
Here is the complete list of winners, dating back to the first edition in 1914.
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Phil West is a sports reporter and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.