5 Things To Know - LAFC And The 2024 U.S. Open Cup

The most important thing to know about the U.S. Open Cup competition that LAFC will participate in is that there’s a trophy on the line—a historic one.

LAFC’s GM and Co-President, John Thorrington, says it often, including this preseason – This club tries to win every competition. Forward Nathan Ordaz reiterated it this week when asked about the U.S. Open Cup: “We’re always trying to win whatever we’re in. Not being in Champions League this season will make us push for every single trophy even more.”

So what is the U.S. Open Cup?

When LAFC kicks off against the Las Vegas Lights on Wednesday night, it will be taking part, for the fifth time, in the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S., and the third-oldest in the world.

First played in 1914 (when it was known as the National Challenge Cup), the U.S. Open Cup was founded earlier than the NHL (1917), the NFL (1920), and the NBA (1946).

The annual competition is open to professional and amateur clubs in the United States. In this 109th edition of the tournament, lower division pro and amateur teams battle it out to advance to the Round of 32, which is when MLS teams like LAFC get involved. U.S. Open Cup matches are interspersed among the MLS regular-season games played by LAFC and other leagues’ participants.

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When LAFC played in the U.S. Open Cup in 2023, the Black & Gold was making its way to the Concacaf Champions League final – the title game of most prestigious competition in this part of the world. As such, LAFC started mostly second-team players from LAFC2 in its Round-of-32 win over Monterey Bay in May 2023—a thrilling match that LAFC’s young lineup won on penalties.

That same young LAFC side fell 2-0 to the Galaxy in the next round, bowing out of the single-elimination tournament while keeping its first-choice players rested and healthy for the demanding Champions League schedule.

This year, LAFC’s focus is different. It intends to pursue the Open Cup more vigorously. After all, the winner will be granted a berth in next year’s Concacaf Champions Cup (previously known as Champions League).


LAFC takes on the Las Vegas Lights, a team that plays in a league called the USL Championship, on Wed. May 8, at 7:30 p.m. PT, at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. The USL Championship is a professional league that is sanctioned as Division II and thus sits below Division I (MLS) in the U.S. Soccer Federation pyramid.

The winner of the LAFC-Las Vegas match will advance to the Round of 16 and host the winner of Orange County SC versus Loudoun United (which will be contested the night before LAFC plays in Vegas). Orange County SC and Loudoun United also play in the USLC.

That Round-of-16 match will be played on May 21 or May 22. (LAFC would host that match at BMO Stadium if it gets past Las Vegas.)


  • Las Vegas Lights vs. LAFC May 8 Round of 32
  • May 21-22 Round of 16
  • July 9-10 Quarterfinals
  • Aug. 27-28 Semifinals
  • Sept. 25 U.S. Open Cup Final


LAFC has a record of 8W-3L-1D over four appearances in the U.S. Open Cup. Its best finish came in 2018 when the Black & Gold made it to the semifinals before falling to the eventual champs, the Houston Dynamo, on penalty kicks. Diego Rossi (currently with the Columbus Crew) had a hat trick for LAFC that day as the Black & Gold fought back from a 3-1 deficit to send the game into 30 minutes of extra time, then the deciding penalty shootout.


A few members of the Black & Gold have raised the U.S. Open Cup while playing for other clubs:

Ante Razov – LAFC asst. coach
three-time champion with Chicago Fire: 1998, 2000, 2003

John Thorrington – LAFC Co-President & GM
D.C. United: 2013

Ilie Sanchez
Sporting KC: 2017

Ryan Hollingshead
FC Dallas: 2018

Kei Kamara
Sporting KC: 2012


LAFC, Las Vegas, Orange County SC, and Loudoun United were grouped together for the Round of 32 and the Round of 16. The group was named the Mark Division after Sam Mark, the owner of the Fall River Marksmen and the New Bedford Whalers that together won five Open Cups from the mid 1920s to the early '30s.

Mark, a first generation American born to Jewish Ukrainian immigrants, also commissioned the building of one of the first soccer specific stadiums in the United States – Mark's Stadium – in North Tiverton, Rhode Island in 1922. By 1955, Mark had relocated to Los Angeles where he helped form Los Angeles Kickers, one of the city's first professional soccer teams.

LAFC kicks off its bid for the U.S. Open Cup on Wed., May 8, with a Round of 32 match against the Las Vegas Lights. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Nevada. Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches can be seen on **, and **. Radio coverage will be available on 710 AM ESPN, the ESPN LA App and KFWB 980 AM La Mera Mera.

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