At the behest of the Houston Dynamo US Soccer made a rule clarification in regards to which pro teams are eligible to enter the US Open Cup in 2016. The adjustments means that Rio Grande Valley is no longer eligible. They are independently owned, but the Dynamo manage all player personnel decisions, so as S2 is not eligible RGVSC is not.
This change means that two teams that would begin in the First Round are no granted byes into the second round. As Kitsap Pumas were the best PDL team and Chattanooga FC was the best NPSL side they are now entering the tournament with the USL teams.
Pumas Head Coach Cammy MacDonald told Sounder at Heart, "Being selected for the bye is a testament to how well the club has performed on and off the field over the past couple of seasons. It also takes us down from five games in a 10-day stretch to four and avoids the opportunity for first-round hiccup. Obviously, we aren't complaining about either of those."
The bye should help each team in their attempt to win prize money as the Open Division team to advance furthest in the tournament. In 2015 that was $15,000.
Kitsap is evaluating the option of hosting their match.
"The club will likely put in a bid to host the second-round match," MacDonald said. "It's been a few years since there's been an Open Cup game on the peninsula, and I'm sure it would generate plenty of interest throughout the community."
Pairings will be announced on April 6th. The first four rounds will be regional, with Seattle Sounders FC entering in the fourth round. A fixed bracket will be created in the Round of 16.
The Fourth Round winners will be divided geographically (regardless of league affiliation) into groups of four, with teams who are precluded from playing each other until the Final (see list elsewhere) placed in different groups. A random draw will determine the pairings within each group, resulting in a fixed bracket for the remainder of the tournament. Should a precluded pair of teams reach the Semifinal Round and be scheduled to face each other, the matches will be re-drawn after the quarterfinals to avoid this outcome.