Tamika Mkandawire shakes the hand of FC Cincinnati captain Kenney Walker prior to a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on June 1, 2016.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 1, 2017)—The Tampa Bay Rowdies will enter the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 17, the United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday while unveiling the 2017 tournament format.
Twenty-four Division II clubs from the United Soccer League and North American Soccer League will enter the tournament in the Second Round on May 17. Nineteen clubs from Major League Soccer will enter the tournament in the Fourth Round on June 14, meaning the Rowdies will have to win two matches before facing MLS opposition.
Tampa Bay’s opening match in this year’s tournament, scheduled to be played on May 17, falls between a home game against Louisville City FC and a road game against Toronto FC II.
In 2016, the Rowdies defeated the USL’s FC Cincinnati 1-0 on June 1 in the Third Round before being eliminated by the Columbus Crew SC 4-0 two weeks later.
Tampa Bay’s best Open Cup run came in the 2013 when the club defeated VSI Tampa Bay FC (USL) 2-1 and the defending champion Seattle Sounders (MLS) 1-0 before falling 2-0 to the Portland Timbers (2-0) in the Round of 16.