USL announced procedures for the 2018 USL Cup Final on Wednesday, and as part of that announcement came the news that Orange County SC will not host the USL Cup final if they advance to the title game. If OCSC advance, the final will be hosted at the Eastern Conference finalist’s (either New York Red Bulls II or Louisville City FC) home.
Orange County, who finished as the top seed in the Western Conference and are the highest remaining seed in the the USL Cup Playoffs, have hosted two home playoff games so far this season, wins over Saint Louis FC and Reno 1868 FC, and have the Western Conference final coming up on Saturday against Phoenix Rising FC (7 pm PT).
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Orange County SC was not able to confirm that Championship Soccer Stadium at Orange County Great Park on November 8, would be available for the night of the final, and therefore are ineligible from hosting. The source stressed there was not much OCSC could do in the matter, as the availability of the venue is determined by the administrators at Orange County Great Park, not the club itself.
USL spokesperson Ryan Madden, an Orange County native himself, provided comment on the current situation to Angels on Parade:
“We’ve been really pleased with the increase in overall interest and attendance at Orange County Soccer Club in recent months. James Keston and Oliver Wyss do a great job and the area is home to a huge, very knowledgeable soccer community. It’s been really exciting to watch the team grow, and even though they won’t be able to host USL Cup this season, we know – should they get past Phoenix – that there will be a lot of people back home cheering them on. The future is bright for soccer in Orange County”
For those of you looking forward to possibly watching OCSC win USL Cup at home, this is a huge blow. But Orange County SC remain in the playoffs, and they still have a shot at the title, but they need to beat Phoenix to even worry about the venue. And Orange County won as many games in the regular season on the road this year as they did at home (10 each). Either way, you have one more chance to get out and see Orange County SC at home this year, on Saturday night at Orange County Great Park. See you there.
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