UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe and Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid have something in common: They are both unhappy with the US Open Cup venue-selection process.
Talking to the media ahead of the Red Bulls’ fourth-round US Open Cup game against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday, Backe expressed his displeasure with how home games are decided. The Red Bulls will take on the USL Pro club at Skyline Sports Complex (7 pm ET, streamed live on newyorkredbulls.com) after visiting the Charleston Battery in last week’s third round win.
“We’ve been unlucky to play on the road all the time,” Backe told reporters following Monday’s training session. “If we win tomorrow, we also have to play the [fifth round] game on the road, which makes me a little bit frustrated when I look other teams getting three home games in the row.”
In the past, teams would just bid for hosting rights. But this year a coin flip is determining which club plays at home, so long as both teams’ stadiums meet tournament standards.
While that may seem fair for all teams involved, Backe is not pleased with the lack of transparency involved in the venue selection process.
“I would like to see who makes the draw,” said Backe. “No one knows who makes the draw. In every other country in the world, you do it on [television]. No one knows what’s going on here, so I’m a little bit [upset] with that, I must say.”
Backe confirmed that the Red Bulls did try to buy the hosting rights from Harrisburg City, but a deal was not reached. And when asked about it, Backe further expressed his frustration by singling out Schmid’s Sounders.
“It seems Seattle is the only team that can buy games,” said Backe.
(Ed. note: Portland and Real Salt Lake also bought the rights to host their 4th-round USOC matches.)
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.