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RGVFC won't play in Open Cup, joining other MLS-operated clubs

The 102-year-old competition will not include expansion USL side Rio Grande Valley, but the reason is undercut by strange timing.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When the Houston Dynamo announced their entry into the United Soccer League last July, the narrative centered highly on the unique relationship between the new club, Rio Grande Valley FC, and the Dynamo. In short, the business and stadium of RGVFC is owned by South Texas business man Alonzo Cantu while the soccer personnel is managed by the Dynamo.

It's curious, therefore, that when US Soccer announced on January 7th that eight MLS-owned affiliates based in the US would not be eligible to participate in the US Open Cup, the RGVFC Toros were not mentioned. The reasoning for excluding from the Open Cup, "any Outdoor Professional League Team that is majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team..." goes that the downsides of intra-organization competition do not outweigh the benefits. This is fine, but it would also cover RGVFC, which is not owned by MLS.

US Soccer released an amendment to the rule yesterday, which rightly includes RGVFC and mentions that the change was requested by the Dynamo. It is unclear why US Soccer did not write the rule in such a way as to cover the Dynamo's hybrid affiliation with RGVFC when it was first released in January. The club has expressed to Indomitable City Soccer, however, that the decision to treat the Toros like any other MLS-operated affiliate was indeed desired by the Texas organizations.

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