On Monday, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) performed the draw to determine which teams would host the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Semifinals. The USSF also determined the hosting priorities for the 105th US Open Cup Final.
The draw was originally scheduled for Thursday, July 19 but the Portland Timbers filed a protest against Los Angeles FC following LAFC’s 3-2 Quarterfinal win. The Disciplinary Committee was set to meet on Saturday, but before they could convene, the Timbers withdrew their protest.
The draw determined that Philadelphia Union would host Chicago Fire in the Semifinals and, in the other half of the bracket, the Houston Dynamo will host Los Angeles FC. Both games will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Houston and LAFC will kick off at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, while Philadelphia-Chicago will kick off at 7 p.m.
The winners will meet in the 105th edition of the US Open Cup on either Sept. 26 or Oct. 3, depending on the host.
The method for determining the host starts with the eligible teams applying to host and if the teams both meet the minimum venue standards the home team is determined by random draw.
If the Chicago Fire advances, they will host the Final on Oct. 3. If Chicago falls, the Houston Dynamo would be next up to host if they win. If both Chicago and Houston lose, LAFC will host a final against Philadelphia Union. If Chicago is not involved in the Final, the game will be held on Sept. 26. No kickoff times have been announced.
The Fire, who are seeking a record-tying fifth US Open Cup title, have hosted the Final three times (1998, 2000, 2006), but haven’t lifted the trophy since 2006.
LAFC are an expansion team but head coach Bob Bradley has won the tournament twice with the Fire, including in 1998 when they were an expansion team. The Open Cup Final hasn’t been held in Southern California since 2005 when the Galaxy won their second USOC title.
Houston have never reached the Final and a South Texas team has never won the US Open Cup. The Open Cup Final has been held in South Texas twice. The New York Pancyprian Freedoms won their third USOC title in Houston when they defeated Kutis SC (St. Louis) in 1983 and the El Paso Patriots lost in penalty kicks at home against the Richmond Kickers in 1995.
The city of Philadelphia hasn’t had a team win the tournament since 1966 (Ukrainian Nationals) but the Union had two cracks at it when they hosted the Final in 2014 and 2015. They lost to the Seattle Sounders in extra time (2014) and lost to Sporting Kansas City in PKs (2015).
In the Modern Era (1995-present), the home team is 13-5-2 (1-1 PKs) in the championship game and has won the last two.