Call it a communication “flop.”
Sacramento Republic FC and Swope Park Rangers both spent 24 hours waiting to see if they’d be hosting the Saturday’s United Soccer League Western Conference semifinals match. The league announcement finally came about noon Tuesday: it’ll be played at 2 p.m. PST Saturday in Kansas City, Kan.
“After working with all parties, the Swope Park Rangers and USL agreed Saturday’s playoff contest, and future contests in the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs, would be held at Children’s Mercy Park, one of the finest venues in Major League Soccer,” the league said in a release.
As the higher seed, No. 4 Swope Park was initially assumed to host the match. But the USL announced it would move to Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento at 11:30 a.m. Monday, citing unspecific challenges that arose with Swope Park’s Children’s Mercy Victory Field.
Evidentally, that wasn’t made clear to Swope Park. The Kansas City club tweeted as much a few hours later, imploring fans to ignore the “fake news” coming out of the league office.
Meanwhile, the initial exuberance of hosting a playoff match turned to hesitation for No. 8-seed Republic FC. Team investor Kevin Nagle tweeted that he was awaiting more details from USL officials on Monday evening, and Republic FC officials said they had received no update when contacted shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.
The Blue Testament, SB Nation’s website covering Sporting Kansas City, speculated the potential move could have been due to weather. Swope Park’s home match last weekend was delayed due to thunderstorms, and temperatures are expected to dip into the teens in the Kansas City area this weekend.
With no set venue, no tickets had been made available for Saturday’s match as of Tuesday morning.
Republic FC upset No. 1 seed Real Monarchs SLC on Friday night after sneaking into the playoffs off a 3-4-2 skid to end the regular season. The winner of Saturday’s match will go on to play the victor of OKC Energy FC and San Antonio FC contest. The two winners will play for the 2017 USL Cup.