The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup may lose its CONCACAF Champions League qualification spot starting in the 2014 season, Goal USA has learned.
A team source informed Goal of discussions regarding the spot allocated to the winners of the United States' national cup competition. This season, the tournament was won by D.C. United, which finished in dead last in Major League Soccer.
"There's a lot of confusion, but rumors abound of format change starting with 2015/16 qualification," the source told Goal USA. "Many teams believe (the) Open Cup berth will be sacrificed for regular season runner-up, with (MLS) Cup slots and (Supporters') Shield winner preserved.
Under the new proposal, Sporting Kansas City would have already qualified for the Champions League, with either the Portland Timbers or Real Salt Lake receiving its spot should Kansas City also qualify for the MLS Cup Final. Instead, D.C. United, which won just three of 34 league games, will represent the league on the continental stage.
The new rules would also preclude a lower league side from playing on the contintental stage should it win the Open Cup.
This contradicts an earlier report from Prost Amerika, which stated the additional regular-season spot would come from the losing MLS Cup finalist, and take effect for the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League cycle.