After a series of coin tosses on Monday, the Philadelphia Union now have a good idea of the path that they must navigate in order to qualify for the 2011 US Open Cup.
[UPDATE: While DC United plays its league home games at RFK, it is possible that they may decide to host this Cup game at a smaller facility, such as the Maryland Soccerplex. Details should be on the way soon.]
If Philadelphia manages to beat DC United in that first away game, they would then host the New England Revolution at PPL Park in the second round. Also in the second round, the winner of the Portland-Chivas matchup will travel to San Jose, Chicago will host the 2010 MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids, and the Houston Dynamo will welcome Sporting Kansas City to Robertson Stadium.
Finally, if the Union makes it to the third and final round of MLS qualifying, they would once again go on the road, this time against the winner of the game between Houston and Kansas City. The other third round matchup sees the winner of the Chicago-Colorado game going on the road to face either San Jose or the Portland-Chivas winner.
The winners of the two third round games qualify for the tournament proper. They would join the other six American MLS teams that have already qualified for that stage based on last year's final regular season standings: Los Angeles, Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, New York, Columbus, and Seattle. More after the jump.
Dates and times for the matchups have not yet been released as each pairing of teams must reach an agreement on where to fit the game into their schedules. The Union's path in 2011 US Open Cup qualifying mirrors last year's journey, when the Union traveled to Red Bull Arena to face the Red Bulls and would have hosted New England had they won in the first round. Unfortunately, the Union lost to New York, with Sebastien Le Toux both scoring and injuring himself in the same game.
While the dates have not yet been set, there is a stipulation that says that the game between the Union-DC winner and New England must take place by the end of April. Therefore, the game between Philadelphia and DC will be taking place in the very near future. Last year, the Union's game against New York took place on April 27th, but other games took place as early as April 14th.