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MLS Cup to Remain at Neutral Site

At some point in the future, MLS will probably allow the highest seed to host the championship match. But in 2010, MLS Cup will again be played at a neutral site.

After seriously exploring the possibility of a true home team in the final, the league announced Monday that a predetermined venue will be selected in the "first quarter of the year."

New York's new facility in Harrison, N.J., would be a logical choice, but the Red Bulls might want to wait a year to host a league event (MLS Cup or All-Star Game) and concentrate fully on their regular season marketing challenges. Houston is set to host the 2010 All-Star Game.

Home Depot Center is always a safe choice. Would the league risk weather issues and go to a passionate environment such as Toronto or Chicago in late November?

"Following a detailed review and careful analysis of both options, we have elected to continue with a neutral-site format for MLS Cup 2010," Commissioner Don Garber said. "We believe this format will provide an exciting environment for our our fans while also allowing the necessary planning time for our key constituents. We will continue to assess the possibility of playing MLS Cup at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team in the future."

Would you like to see MLS Cup at a "home" venue in the future?

By Steve Goff  |  January 4, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Have it in NY. I'm sure it will still be a neutral site :)

Posted by: Reignking | January 4, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm - hard to say how I feel about this decision.

It doesn't surprise me, first of all. However, I would like to see a future where a Home crowd gets to celebrate a championship.

As for where I would ilke to see it played...

Not at the Pizza. Not in Houston. Seattle, you did a great job and as much as you might have earned the right to get it back - no more turf. Toronto should get a crack at it. MLSE has shown a lot of commitment and grass is coming to BMO. Chester? Hmmm, wait-and-see. Chicago would be a decent host. Colorado could use help on ticket sales (unless The Stan is bringing the Gunners in for friendlies, Arsene Wenger's wishes-be-darned).

So for now I'll say 1) Toronto 2) Chicago 3) Denver 4) Philly

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 4, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

this is silly. have it at the higher seeded team's home in order to sell more tickets. isn't that obvious?

Posted by: troy6 | January 4, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If they have trouble filling that new stadium it would be a disaster. I think New York would be smart to wait till at least next year to figure out their business.

Why don't they have it in PU's new stadium? Not big enough!?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 4, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I think a home venue is the way to go. rewards the hugher seed and by associative properties can sprun urgency in regular season games, thus making the 30 games before the post seaon a bit more relevant. Plus hearing the home side get behind their team in a Cup Final is a treat to watch.

BUT on the other hand...

The logistical issues could be a PIA and prove quite detremental at this point. Plus seeing KC get behind their team in the final this year (hey anything's possible) would not a beautiful thing make. In fact that's the one time the league may opt for the game to be showed standard definition (with an added grain filter).

I was rooting for the top seed thing, but can wait.

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 4, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

thanks for all the postings today Steve. was all this data sitting in your inbox? if so, congrats on keeping the blackberry turned off.

Posted by: troy6 | January 4, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What needs to happen is a ladder. Seed it all the same way, but then the playoffs should be sequential: 4@3, winner @2, winner @1, then the winners of this ladder would then have a home & home two leg for the win, with away goals favored. Advantages are many; once the seeding comes out, every game save the final can be scheduled. It's only 8 matches, but everyone but the 4 seeds get a home game. A Tues-Fri-Tues-Fri-Wed schedule would allow for a maximum television exposure, and not compete with gridiron. Teams with higher seeds get more rest time. Teams with lower seeds have to play their way up.

If anyone has a better thought, let's hear it.

Posted by: drumcat | January 4, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Besides, neutral sites don't give fans a chance to see their teams. Everyone will tell you the Superbowl is the quietest game of the year.

Posted by: drumcat | January 4, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Permanent site in Las Vegas...

Posted by: alan19 | January 4, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

If anyone has a better thought, let's hear it.

Posted by: drumcat |

Does "not that" count?

Posted by: Reignking | January 4, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@ drumcat - Your post remineded me of the types of multiple choice questions that would be seen in the Verbal Aptitude tests that were required in the Selective Entrance exam I sat to when I was a wee lad back in Africa. Something like "Super Bowl is to MLS Cup as Apples are to..."

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 4, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

What is Donovan's kit #?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 4, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I couldn't respond sooner, dadryan. I just saw it now. On Evertons website his number is blank right now. It might be 11 cause I hear Moyes is trying to get rid of Jo. Don't know if it will happen soon enough though.

Posted by: spikeman | January 4, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Toronto? In November? Isn't that a bit risky, weather wise? Great fans, though...

Posted by: JkR- | January 4, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@reignking sure it counts, but tell me why it's bad?

Posted by: drumcat | January 4, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that a neutral site was seriously considered for this year, or even for the next couple of years after that. With two new teams coming on board next year, I'm guessing that MLS will want to hold the final out Vancouver or Portland way -- probably both. Montreal -- probably not. It's a good way to get these new MLS fans interested in more than just their home team. Once expansion is done, I'm certain MLS will want to switch to the home-team site idea.

Posted by: fischy | January 4, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope they move to a real home field advantage at some point soon.
...fischy, you could be right, but why wait for expansion to be completed before making the switch?

Posted by: nairbsod | January 4, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

HIgher seed should get it, but I do understand holding off for another season before it happens. Figuring out the CBA seems to be of the highest importance at the moment. I mean, is the 2010 season even going to happen?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 4, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@reignking sure it counts, but tell me why it's bad?

Posted by: drumcat

Keep it simple.

Next thing you know, we'll be doing what the Dutch league does (What? You mean a European league has playoffs??? 3rd rate league!)

Posted by: Reignking | January 4, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

DC United announced today that they are offering a free bus ride up to Philly for fans who want to see the Superdraft live next Thursday. Anyone planning on taking the day off and heading up? I'm considering it.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | January 4, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I like simple, but to be honest about the current system, it's not fair to teams that play better in the regular season. It's a simple system in which the only time a seed has an advantage is when the higher seed plays host to the second round.

My ladder system would require any lower seed to win on the road to advance.

Posted by: drumcat | January 4, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

...seeing KC get behind their team in the final this year (hey anything's possible) would not a beautiful thing make...

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 4, 2010 4:15 PM

I think this may be a key point, and would apply to San Jose as well. Once those teams sort out their stadium situation, maybe the league can change the format.

Permanent site in Las Vegas...

Posted by: alan19 | January 4, 2010 4:22 PM

Now that's more like it!

Posted by: CDRHoek | January 4, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I favor the home and home total goals format? High seeded team should host the 2nd leg.

I love the drama of the home and home and attendance should be strong at both sites.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 4, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Not a fan of the highest seed for the cup. I like the neutral site with a better rotation of stadiums. In my opinion, they should reward the champion next years venue to hold the final.
Not a fan of a two leg series either! I just cant bare the idea of stomping a team in a away game then losing the final at home!

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 4, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, this is why DC needs to get its act together and simply rebuild RFK as "the" US soccer stadium, our Wembley. Then the MLS Cup and the Open Cup could have a full-time (or half time- East Coast) home.

Yes, United get to play there the rest of the time.

Posted by: irasocol | January 4, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

well elections are up in November, I have a brown lunch bag anyone want to put some money into it as an incentive for a new stadium????????



Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 4, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

live tv and live score for free

Posted by: d1g00f | January 5, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Asking fans to travel to odd (and mostly cold) neutral sites is much less appealing than filling out a stadium in the higher seed's hometown.

Who knows — demand could even skyrocket for the game and warrant a move to a bigger stadium in some cities too, which could do wonders for building up the fan base.

like troy6 said, it's all about selling tickets.

Posted by: cho_kettie | January 5, 2010 3:42 AM | Report abuse

A neutral site gives fans plenty of time to buy cheaper airline tickets, those "on the fence" will still have issues of course, but should you cater to such fans anyway who don't have faith their team will be in the final?
I like the pre-determined site as a person who goes to MLS Cups regardless of teams involved. The big winner with a "home field" situation are the airlines.

I also think the Cup should never ever be in Philly or Toronto or Denver because their stadiums are just too danged small to host a major event. Nothing under 30,000 in my opinion, but HDC comes in just under that as well. Based on the puny new stadium sizes, maybe I lower my floor on # of seats at 26k.
Creating artificial demand for regular season games by building small is fine, but for the big event it has no place, imo.

Posted by: dcufan | January 5, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse


I strongly feel that the MLS Cup should be played at the home field of the team with the highest regular season record. The energy and excitement at the game is so much more. Maybe it's harder on ABC, but it makes for better TV anyway.

Posted by: WorldCup | January 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

i like drumcat's idea a lot. thinking outside the box.

Posted by: adamsmorgan | January 5, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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