We're getting ahead of ourselves with this, but the semifinal pairings and schedule for the 2011 U.S. Open Cup were announced on Thursday. On the side of the bracket that concerns the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake outbid the competition and will host either the Los Angeles Galaxy or Seattle, should they win their quarterfinal match with FC Dallas. Both semifinals will take place on Aug. 30, and the Sounders have just one scenario in which they can host a match at Starfire: If both they and FC Dallas win in the quarterfinals.
It's clear Real Salt Lake has placed a heavy emphasis on the U.S. Open Cup and are taking full advantage of the opportunity to make a return to the CONCACAF Champions League after falling just short in the finals this year. Last week, head coach Jason Kreis had the following to say when discussing the competition and what it means for his squad.
"We’re a team that wants to win trophies," coach Jason Kreis said. "It doesn’t matter what kind. We’re three games away from a championship and three games away from being back" into Champions League. "So we’re putting a tremendous amount of focus on it."
His statement jibes with the bid RSL put in for the rights to host an Open Cup semifinal -- Salt Lake likely put in a significant bid and will play a semifinal match at Rio Tinto, should they advance past the quarterfinal. The Sounders clearly take the competition seriously, as well, but will have to take the show on the road in an effort to defend their back-to-back Open Cups, should Seattle top the Galaxy in the quarterfinals. It's an obstacle, but Seattle did come away with a 2-1 win at Rio Tinto early this season in MLS play.
Full schedule after the jump, courtesy of WV Hooligan.
|Chicago Fire (MLS) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)||7:30 p.m. CT||LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|-or-||New York Red Bulls (MLS) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)||7:30 p.m. CT||LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|-or-||Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) at Chicago Fire (MLS)||7:30 p.m. CT||Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.|
|-or-||Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) at New York Red Bulls (MLS)||8 p.m. ET||Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.|
|38||Aug. 30||FC Dallas (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)||7 p.m. PT||Starfire Sports Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.|
|-or-||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at FC Dallas (MLS)||8 p.m. CT||Pizza Hut Park; Frisco, Texas|
|-or-||Seattle Sounders (MLS) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)||7 p.m. MT||Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah|
|-or-||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)||7 p.m. MT||Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah|