Despite being at the top of the U.S. soccer pyramid, just six MLS teams receive automatic berths into the U.S. Open Cup and just eight teams will compete in the main draw of the tournament. The first six spots were allocated based on 2011 regular-season standings, and the final two will once again be decided by a mini qualifying tournament that will be played during this year's regular season. On Tuesday, the eight teams that will be fighting for those two spots learned who their opponents will be.
In the first stage of qualifying, Chivas USA will play the Portland Timbers and DC United will play the Philadelphia Union. The winner of the Chivas USA-Timbers will then play the San Jose Earthquakes and the United-Union winner will play the New England Revolution. In the other two matches in the second stage, the Colorado Rapids will play the Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City will play the Houston Dynamo. The final stage of qualifying will then be Chivas-Port-SJ winner vs. Colorado-Chicago winner and DCU-Philly-NE winner vs. KC-Houston winner.
MLS will have a coin-toss to determine which teams will host the games and the two teams will then have to agree on the dates of the matches.