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May 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Sounders FC would host Georgia (NPSL) or visit Atlanta (NASL) in Open Cup third round

U.S. Soccer announced third-round pairings for the 2012 U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday afternoon.

Sounders FC, the three-time defending champion of the tournament, enters the field in the third round and will play the winner of a May 22 second-round match between the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL and the Georgia Revolution of the NPSL.

The third round is scheduled for May 29 and here are the potential scenarios for Seattle:

— The Sounders would have to play AT Atlanta (more than 2,000 miles away). The game would be at Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 4:30 p.m. PT.

— The Sounders would HOST Georgia at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila at 7 p.m. PT.

Seattle hasn’t played on the road in the Open Cup since a third-round game in Portland in 2010 (the last seven games have been at home). The Sounders clearly benefited from a closed-envelope bidding process in the past, but that has changed this year.

Here’s a reminder of the new process for determine a host in the early rounds, as stated in the U.S. Soccer press release: “The 99th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup includes a random selection process for determining home teams from the first round through the quarterfinals among clubs that have applied to host. The process, conducted by a coin flip, gives participating teams with venues meeting tournament standards an equal chance at hosting their possible opponent for these rounds.”

Potential fourth-round matchups will be announced at a later date.

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