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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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Real Salt Lake part of largest ever U.S. Open Cup field

Real Salt Lake joins the largest field ever to compete for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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The 99th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup features an assortment of strategic changes, including a 64-team field, as the competition begins first-round action on May 15.

This year's U.S. Open Cup eclipsing the previous record of 42 teams set in 2005 and 2006.

All Division I, II and III professional clubs, including the 16 MLS teams in the United States, will participate in the tournament proper for the first time ever. There will also be 32 amateur entries.

The championship takes place on either Aug. 7 or Aug. 8.

According to U.S. Soccer, in the first round, 32 amateur-level sides will be paired geographically, with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool (meaning USASA regional qualifiers, PDL and NPSL) cannot be paired. The first-round winners will face Division II or Division III clubs in the second round based on geographic proximity. Second-round winners play Division I clubs in the third round, matched on a geographic basis.

The Seattle Sounders FC will attempt to become the first team to win a fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup title. The Sounders defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Oct. 5, 2011, to become the first team in 42 years to win the Open Cup three years in a row.

2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule:

April 29: Qualifying deadline

May 15: First Round

May 22: Second Round

May 29: Third Round

June 5: Fourth Round

June 26: Quarterfinals

July 10: Semifinals

Aug. 7 or 8: Final



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