The Seattle Sounders will host the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals on April 6 and then visit New York City FC at Red Bull Arena on April 13, it was announced on Friday. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since July 2019.
NYCFC won the right to host the second leg thanks to securing the equivalent of nine points in the first two CCL rounds. The Sounders had the equivalent of eight points in those rounds, albeit against arguably tougher competition.
Both teams were able reschedule league games on April 9 to better allow for preparation. The Sounders will move their home match with FC Cincinnati to a date to-be-determined, while NYCFC will move their match with D.C. United to Aug. 31.
Although the hosting order doesn’t provide a huge inherent home-field advantage — especially since there is no overtime until the CCL finals — the travel schedule would have been a bit easier if the Sounders were to host the second leg, effectively forcing them to take an extra round-trip cross-country flight. As it is, they’ll play at Minnesota United on April 2, return home to host NYCFC on April 6, fly to NYCFC on April 13 and then come back to Seattle to host Inter Miami on April 16. NYCFC will play at Toronto FC on April 2, fly to Seattle for the April 6 match, host the Sounders on April 13, and then host Real Salt Lake on April 17.
The winner of this series will play the winner of Pumas UNAM-Cruz Azul, both of whom play in Mexico City. Pumas host the first leg on April 5 and Cruz Azul host the return leg on April 12.
The order of the final will have a bit more consequence. Not only is there some added benefit to potentially playing an overtime period at home, but it also provides the potential to celebrate in front of home fans.
Like the semifinals, the order of the two-legged final will be determined by points accumulated in the previous CCL rounds. The current standings are: Cruz Azul 10 points, NYCFC 9 points, Sounders 8 points and Pumas 7. If the two teams are tied on points, the tiebreakers are goal-difference, goals scored, away goals scored, wins, away wins, fewest disciplinary points and drawing of lots. The Sounders currently have the best goal-difference (+8), followed by NYCFC (+6), Cruz Azul (+4) and Pumas (+3).