Seattle Sounders FC won three straight Lamar Hunt US Open Cups. That is downright impressive. It is quite rare and was the path to CONCACAF Champions League. The club was rewarded for its depth. A depth that few other teams had despite not being expansion sides. Seattle suffered in the CCL early, but came on late as a decent threat to the Liga MX teams. It was a pretty big, but not huge deal.
That could all end if the report by Goal.com is correct.
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.
Now, Prost Amerika (according to Goal.com) has a slightly different report. They are claiming that the MLS Cup loser would lose their spot.
Both reports are in agreement that the new spot would go to the regular season's second best side.
There lies a bright spot in these reports. A boost for the value of the regular season is good. A reduced value for a long standing tournament that rewards a different type of roster construction is not. Plus, the Open Cup is a potential path for any club (NASL, USL PRO, PDL, NPSL, etc) in the USA to get a bit of recognition on the international stage.
What is likely happening is that some USSF/MLS board is talking about how to increase the value of the regular season. That is a good thing.
In light of a hyper-unbalanced schedule it is now time to
not reward the regular season Conference winners (one would always be the Shield winner), the MLS Cup winner and still leave the US Open Cup with its spot. The two higher seeds should go to the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield winners with the lesser Conference winner (in 2013 that would be Portland) and the Open Cup winner (2013 would be DC United).
Discussing ways to increase the value of the regular season should not destroy the value of a tournament that is 100 years old. Other paths are simpler, more just and quite frankly - smart.
* edit made at 9:38 AM Sunday
UPDATE: USSF is denying this rumor
Reports that state the Open Cup spot in CONCACAF Champions League may change are not accurate.— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) November 10, 2013