Winning three was fun. Winning four will be better. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
One of the powers of the midseason knockout tourneys is the appeal of the underdog advancing. We can pontificate over what quality of lineup should be used in the matches framing the late knockout rounds as well. Today the US Soccer Federation announced the potential hosts for the Semifinal round of the US Open Cup. It is little surprise that whoever wins next Tuesday's match between the Seattle Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes will be hosting the semis.
For Seattle it is about a historical quest for #SE4TTLE. No club has won four in a row in the century plus history of the tournament. For the Earthquakes it is about reasserting their place as a top team in MLS. Since the current Dynamo fled the Bay Area San Jose is an also-ran. Their performance in league and Open Cup play in 2012 is waking people up to that.
In Seattle's case the semi would be at Starfire sports against either the Charlotte Eagles or Chivas USA. For the Quakes they'd go back to Buck Shaw after their Kezar Stadium match against Seattle. While Starfire may lack amenities of a major tournament it has assumed a near mystical power for the Sounders whose only losses in the MLS era of the team have come in Reserve and Academy play. In the Open Cup it is where they win.
The Semis, and the Final to come, are back to the blind bidding process so teams can demonstrate their "valuing" of the Open Cup based on their bid and hosting. This takes importance in the East side of the bracket where the Philadelphia Union would host Sporting Kansas City if both teams win.