With the league semifinals set, one of the most intriguing questions to languish through Major League Soccer’s 17th season is tantalizingly close to a resolution:
Where will the league’s championship decider be held?
This year, the most significant playoff modification in MLS history replaced the traditional method of selecting a venue well in advance. Once the two finalists were decided on the field, the team with the better regular season record would host.
So going into the playoffs, nine of 10 teams had a theoretical chance of hosting the Nov. 10 date. Going into the conference semifinals, seven of eight teams still had the some hope of the opportunity.
Now it’s down to D.C. United, Los Angeles and Seattle. And the scenarios today are far less tangled.
- If United prevails in its Eastern Conference semifinal, Major League Soccer’s 17th championship match will happen inside historic RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital. RFK hosted the 2007 contest (won, ironically, by Houston).
- If Houston eliminates United over their two-leg series, then the winner between Seattle and Los Angeles in the West will determine MLS Cup 2012’s site. Since both Western Conference finalists finished with better records than Houston, only the Dynamo among this foursome has no opportunity to host.
Los Angeles hosted last year’s championship contest; Seattle was the site for MLS Cup 2009. So, both cities have recent experience at managing the event.