MLS Cup hosting scenarios: Where the 2020 final could take place

Now that the Philadelphia Union are out of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, the calculus around who could host the final on Dec. 12 has changed.

The path starts with Sporting Kansas City, the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed, since the Union were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Sporting have to win two more games, of course, beginning with welcoming Minnesota United FC on Dec. 2 in a conference semifinal, but the trophy could run through Children’s Mercy Park.

Should that situation unfold, Sporting would hope for a repeat of 2013 when they hosted against Real Salt Lake and lifted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy before their home supporters. They’re now 6-3-1 across all competitions at Children’s Mercy Park this year, so home confines have largely treated them well.

The highest remaining seed will host MLS Cup based on the overall standings determined by points per game in the regular season. Here's the full breakdown of the hosting order.

  1. Sporting Kansas City
  2. Columbus Crew SC
  3. Orlando City SC
  4. Seattle Sounders
  5. Minnesota United
  6. FC Dallas
  7. Nashville SC
  8. New England Revolution

The only guarantee right now is the East’s lowest two remaining seeds – No. 7 Nashville SC and No. 8 New England Revolution – can’t host, since the West’s lowest remaining seed (No. 6 FC Dallas) would get the nod if that matchup emerges from the single-elimination format.

It’s also possible that the Seattle Sounders, the West's No. 2 seed, could host MLS Cup for the second straight year. Last year’s final at Lumen Field drew 69,274 people, though they’ve been playing without supporters in attendance in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another favorite looks to be Columbus Crew SC, who are now the top remaining seed in the Eastern Conference and could play four playoff games at MAPFRE Stadium when all is said and done. Don’t go counting out No. 4 Orlando City SC, either, since the Eastern Conference side is carrying momentum after a dramatic Round One win in penalty kicks.

However the field unfolds, MLS Cup hosting rights is another layer to track as the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs field narrows. The Union and Subaru Park controlled hosting rights as Supporters’ Shield winners, but the club's early exit shuffles the deck.