2012 US Open Cup Final: Three stadiums in play to host this year’s championship game (UPDATED)

Posted by | July 6, 2012

The United States Soccer Federation announced the potential host sites for the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final. Two of the three stadiums that have been selected as possibilities, based on the results of a secret bidding process, will host the championship game for the first time. The game will be be held on August 7 or 8 depending on the home team.

The Semifinals will feature an all-Major League Soccer lineup for just the second time in the last six years, assuring that an MLS club will win the tournament for the 13th straight year.

Of those semifinalists, Sporting Kansas City will host the Final at LiveStrong Sporting Park if they advance in their match against tournament newcomer Philadelphia Union. Kansas City hasn’t hosted the title game since they lifted the trophy in 2004 at Arrowhead Stadium. The new stadium, which stands on the Kansas side of the border, could mark the first time the championship game has ever taken place in the Sunflower State. The game will be held on Aug. 8 if they face Seattle, and either Aug. 7 or 8 if they host Chivas USA.

However, if the Philadelphia Union knock off Kansas City, they will host the Final at PPL Park on either Aug. 7 or 8, but only if Chivas USA gets past the Seattle Sounders. If they reach their first championship game in franchise history, it will be the first Philadelphia-area club to reach the Final since United German Hungarians fell short against CD Mexico in 1993, and the first time the championship game has been held in the Philadelphia area since 1994 (Oakford, Pa.).

Out west, the three-time defending Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders, who have hosted the last two title games, can only play for an unprecedented fourth championship in a row in front of their home fans if they get past Chivas USA and the Philadelphia Union win. The match would take place on Aug. 8.

If Chivas USA wants to win their first trophy in franchise history, they will have to do so on the road as they are not in the running for hosting. This year Chivas has only hosted one (Quarterfinals vs. Charlotte Eagles) of their four matches. Since MLS joined the competition, only FC Dallas in 1997 (then known as the Dallas Burn) have won it all  by winning more than two road games along the way. In fact, Dallas won the Open Cup that year without playing a single game at home (three wins on the road and the Final at a neutral site in Indianapolis).

The format for how the USSF determines the host of Open Cup games changed this year, with a blind draw being conducted as long as teams met minimum venue standards and paid a flat hosting fee (except for the first two rounds which did not include a fee). However, for the Semifinals and the Final, the secret bidding process from year’s past remains in place where the potential finalists submit an application to host the game and sends a cashier’s check to the federation. To put it simply, the team who meets the standards and bids the most money gets to host.

After the announcement was made, Joshua Mayers reported on the Seattle Times website that Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer told him the bids submitted by Seattle and Kansas City were equal, which required the federation to flip a coin to determine who would host if the two clubs should meet in the Final.  Obviously, Kansas City won the coin flip.

(MORE from TheCup.us … Dollars & Cents: The controversial US Open Cup hosting bid process explained)

US Soccer spokesperson Neil Buethe confirmed that the two clubs did, in fact, did “tie” with their bids, but not necessarily on the amount they cut a check for. “The two bids from Seattle and Sporting Kansas City were considered equal on merit so the decision was made to conduct a coin flip.”

Also, there is currently no agreement in place to broadcast the championship game on television. As of Saturday, July 7, Buethe told TheCup.us “We are still in discussions with broadcasters about televising the Open Cup Final.” Every championship game in the Modern Professional Era (1995-present) has been broadcast on a variety of television networks over the years, including GolTV, Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN.

2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final (Hosting scenarios)
Tuesday, Aug. 7, or Wednesday, Aug. 8

Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City
LiveStrong Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.; time TBD; Aug. 8
OR
Chivas USA at Sporting Kansas City
LiveStrong Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.; time TBD; Aug. 7 or 8
OR
Philadelphia Union at Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash.; time TBD; Aug. 8
OR
Chivas USA (MLS) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.; time TBD; Aug. 7 or 8

2012 Semifinals schedule (July 11)

Sporting Kansas City (MLS) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.; 7:30 p.m. ET –  July 11

Chivas USA (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.; 10:00 p.m. ET – July 11

8 Comments

  • Brett Steelsmith says:

    Tied bids ??? Are you that stupid to think we buy that ??? Down to the cent ? and then another COIN FLIP which of course we lose !!! If this is true print the BIDS !!! If not we will know that you lied to move the Game out of Seattle !

  • Sporting fans says:

    SKC!!!!

  • Daniel Warner says:

    I heard that Seattle bid $100,000.00 and SKC bid $100,000.01…Simple price is right strategy.

  • E.S. says:

    Why does the U.S. Soccer Federation leadership obviously NOT want Seattle to win, or even host another U.S. Open Cup final? It would draw MORE interest in the sport and the tournament which would both be GOOD things for U.S. Soccer. I just don’t get the blatant bias against the Sounders. At least fans of the sports can see right through the B.S. PR the USSF has put out.

    • Josh Hakala says:

      Some might laugh at your ‘blatant bias against the Sounders’ … Including the upcoming Final, Seattle will have played 27 Open Cup games since 2007. They have hosted 20 of them, including 2 Finals. (2010, 2011). Since they joined MLS, they have hosted 12 of their 17 games (2 of those road games were in Portland, another in San Francisco).

      The way they go about choosing home games is MORE than deserving of criticism, but to suggest the USSF is anti-Sounders is kind of silly. Especially considering the USSF stands to make MORE money if the game is held at CenturyLink (since the USSF gets a percentage of the gate).

  • KC Cauldron says:

    I believe that we will win!

  • Brett Steelsmith says:

    @ Josh H That is why we smell a rat, a tied bid to the cent ? Even our management laughed at that and then to lose another coin toss ? to have a Cup final played in a stadium that barely holds 20,000 ? sorry The Sounders earned the title on the road and has held serve the next two years. The game deserves to be played in front of 45,000 fans not 20K

    • Josh Hakala says:

      I’m no fan of the lack of transparency, but Seattle has done quite well with the way the system has been setup. We don’t know the amounts that were bid or what was promised with the proposals. I just have a hard time believing USSF would conspire to hold the Final at a stadium 1/3 of the size and hurt the amount of money USSF would receive. Just doesn’t make any sense. It’s possible that they truly felt the two bids were so similar in “merit” (as they said) that it needed to be decided by a coin flip.

      I’ve gotten on board with the idea of having a home/home series JUST for the Final, then you can eliminate this problem/controversy. You could have Open Cup matchdays every other week starting in mid-May and you could still be done with the tournament (including a 2-leg Final) by mid-August (as MLS wants). Seems like a good deal for USSF to take a percentage of TWO finals. Also, I’ve seen their “Studio 90” work (it’s quite good) so they could easily just record the draw and post it to take care of (most) of the conspiracy theories.

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