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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Open Cup final draw: Union win chance to host final

The plot has thickened in the Philadelphia Union’s search for its first trophy.

A coin flip Monday night in Portland associated with the MLS All-Star Game has handed the hosting duties for the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final to the winner of the Union’s semifinal against FC Dallas.

Should the Union beat Dallas Aug. 12 at Toyota Stadium (9 p.m.), the club would play for its first trophy on home turf at PPL Park in the final. They’d face the winner of the other semi between the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders. The date of the final will be either Sept. 30 or Oct. 1.

The coin flip was performed by U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati as part of a live stream by of the popular Men in Blazers podcast. Each of the four remaining clubs had a ceremonial representative present, with the Union represented by All-Star Maurice Edu. (The histrionics start around the 51-minute mark of the video.)

The home-field advantage in a potential final could change the dynamic for the Union, who embark on a stretch of three games in seven days around the Open Cup semi. They host Montreal in MLS play Saturday, then venture for a Texas doubleheader with Dallas Tuesday and Houston Friday. They have eight days off after that.

The trip to the semifinals this season matches the Union’s deepest run in the tournament. In 2012, they also made the semifinals with a chance to host the final but lost to Sporting Kansas City at home.

The Union have games scheduled Sept. 27 at D.C. United and Oct. 2 at home against, fittingly enough, Chicago.

The last final held in the Philadelphia area came in 1994 when Greek American A.C. beat Bavarian Leinenkugel, 3-0, at UGH Field in Oakford. The Philadelphia area has a long history with the competition, dating from the first of an all-time high five titles for Bethlehem Steel, the first of which came in 1915.

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