US Open Cup kick-off delayed due to Covid-19: US Soccer

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Atlanta United FC players celebrate their 2019 US Open Cup victory over Minnesota

US soccer chiefs on Friday postponed the start of this year's US Open Cup from its planned kick-off in May due to Covid-19, but said the tournament may still be held later this year.

The knockout tournament, the oldest ongoing football competition in North America dating back to 1914, was due to kick off on May 18 after being cancelled altogether in 2020 due to the pandemic.

However US Soccer's Open Cup committee said "logistical and financial challenges" made a May start date impractical.

"The logistical and financial burdens to have the tournament take place this spring in the current environment are substantial," said Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller.

"Even though all of US Soccer's member professional teams will be playing in their respective league competitions this year, the Committee did not feel it wise to have clubs divert important resources during the next two months for Open Cup play.

"Instead, we will look further into the future to see what possibilities might exist for 2021. After that, a full-scale 2022 Open Cup is less than a year away."

The tournament format for 2021 had already been trimmed to 16 teams drawn from all four tiers of professional football in the United States, with half coming from the ranks of Major League Soccer.

Atlanta United are the reigning Open Cup champions, beating Minnesota United FC to win the 2019 tournament.