The United States Soccer Federation has unveiled the hosting possibilities for the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The match will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 4, regardless of the location. The combination of winners of the Semifinal match-ups, which will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 30, will determine where the championship will be decided.
The defending two-time champion Seattle Sounders are in the driver’s seat as potential hosts. The club was selected to host the tournament final against the other semifinal winner should they defeat 2010 MLS Cup finalist FC Dallas, a fellow participant in the ongoing CONCACAF Champions League. Should Seattle falter, the location will be determined by the result of the semifinal featuring the Chicago Fire and Richmond Kickers, members of the third-division USL Pro.
Championship Host Scenarios
Chicago Fire / Richmond Kickers at Seattle Sounders
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Wash. – Time TBA
FC Dallas at Chicago Fire
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill. – Time TBA
Richmond Kickers at FC Dallas
Pizza Hut Park – Frisco, Texas – Time TBA
The tournament resumes Tuesday evening after a month break in play with semifinal contests hosted by Chicago and Seattle.
In the first game, the four-time tournament champion Chicago Fire welcomes this year’s lower division surprise, the Richmond Kickers of USL Pro (3rd Division) into Toyota Park at 8:30 p.m. EST. The second game will feature the defending Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders as they host FC Dallas at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash starting at 10:00 pm EST.
The Sounders, who are looking to become the fourth club in US Open Cup history to three-peat, will host the final for the second year in a row if they are victorious. Seattle has yet to lose a championship game in their brief MLS history (2-0-0).
The Chicago Fire are attempting to make history with their record-tying fifth Open Cup title this year. If they win their final four match against Richmond, they need FC Dallas to beat Seattle in order for the Fire to host. Historically, this would be a boost to the Fire because they have never lost a championship game on their home field, winning the 1998, 2000 and 2006 titles. They won the 2003 tournament at Giants Stadium against the Metrostars, but they suffered their only championship game loss at Kansas City in 2004. They have not reached a final since beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 at Toyota Park in 2006.
The only time FC Dallas has ever hosted an Open Cup Final was when they lost to the New England Revolution in 2007, but this year they will be attempting to lift their second Dewar Cup. Their only title came in the 1997 tournament when they beat DC United in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw at Carroll Track and Field Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. (Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis).
The Richmond Kickers, who have made history by becoming the first lower division club to upset back-to-back MLS teams on the road, will have to win a third (at Chicago) and then a fourth (at either FC Dallas or Seattle) in order to win their second Open Cup championship. The Kickers won the 1995 Open Cup as a member of the USISL Premier League (now USL Premier Development League). They defeated two professional teams before upsetting a third pro team, the El Paso Patriots, in penalty kicks 4-2 to claim the championship after a 1-1 draw.
The home team is 10-3-1 (0-1 in PKs) in Open Cup Finals in the Professional Era (1995-present) with two games (1997, 1999) being played at neutral venues.
Hosts are determined via a blind bid process by the USSF that takes into account numerous factors such as facilities, potential or guaranteed revenue, fans and media.