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