It looks like the U.S. Open Cup is headed for a much-needed facelift. According to a story at TheCup.US, the 97-year-old tournament is likely to expand to 64 teams in 2012. That field would include all 16 U.S.-based MLS teams, who would enter in the third round.
One of the regular criticisms of the tournament is that only six MLS teams gained automatic entry. Two other teams eventually earned spots, but only after playing in a midseason qualifying tournament.
The story, which cites a source "familiar with the organization of the tournament," says a proposal is currently awaiting approval from the MLS Competition Committee. In addition to adding eight extra spots for MLS teams, it would also include the 16 U.S.-based teams in the NASL and USL-Pro.
The tournament would open in mid-May with 32 amateur teams producing 16 winners that would face the NASL and USL-Pro teams in Round 2. The winners of that round would then play the MLS teams in Round 3. The tournament would eventually wrap up some time in August, considerably earlier than it has in past years when it has run into October.