Chicago Fire FC II to Compete in 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 

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CHICAGO (March 1, 2024) – U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer today announced an agreement that will see eight MLS clubs and 11 MLS NEXT Pro teams compete in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. 

Chicago Fire FC II, the MLS NEXT Pro side for Chicago Fire FC, will represent the Club for the first time in this year’s U.S. Open Cup. 

  • MLS Clubs - The eight MLS clubs will include Houston Dynamo FC (last year’s Open Cup champion) and the top seven ranked U.S.-based teams according to the 2023 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, other than clubs playing in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. 
  • MLS NEXT Pro Clubs - The 11 participating MLS NEXT Pro teams will include nine MLS affiliates, including Chicago Fire FC II, and two independent clubs. The nine MLS-affiliated teams competing will be based on the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro final standings, other than those clubs whose MLS first teams are participating in either the 2024 U.S. Open Cup or 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.
  • MLS teams will only play lower division opponents until it cannot be avoided, enhancing the tournament's drama and appeal.   

During the past few months, Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer have worked together to discuss the evolution of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup that will set the foundation for the future growth of the tournament to benefit all stakeholders. The conversations focused on increasing the overall investment in the Open Cup, including improved economics for all participants, providing young players with important developmental opportunities, reducing schedule congestion for MLS clubs, and addressing load management concerns to aid player health and safety.

Chicago Fire FC II began play in 2022 and serves as a bridge between the Chicago Fire Academy and the First Team. Led by Head Coach Ludovic Taillandier and assistant coach, former Fire forward Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire FC II provides a platform for the Fire’s rising talent to compete at the professional level. 

The Chicago Fire has a rich history of success in the U.S. Open Cup. The Fire’s four U.S. Open Cup championships (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006) remains tied for the most Open Cup titles by an MLS team. Additionally, the Fire holds the record for the most wins and semifinal appearances by an MLS team in the annual competition.

Chicago Fire FC II will begin the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro campaign on the road on Sunday, March 17 against FC Cincinnati 2 at NKU Soccer Stadium. The team will play its home opener at SeatGeek Stadium on Thursday, March 28 against Philadelphia Union II. Match entry and parking are free for fans at SeatGeek Stadium.