The Ocean City Nor'easters won't host the Philadelphia Union in Tuesday's third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament.
Nor'easters general manager Neil Holloway said Saturday in a series of text messages that U.S. Soccer denied their bid to have the game moved to Ocean City's Carey Stadium. The Nor'easters will play the Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Nor'easters had filed a protest with the Chicago-based U.S. Soccer, the tournament's governing body, on Tuesday, claiming that they had earned the right to host the game by virtue of their 1-0 second-round victory over the Pittsburgh Rounders. A coin flip had been held before the tournament to determine who would be the home team in the third round, and the Union lost the flip.
However, U.S. Open Cup officials erroneously thought Ocean City's field did not have the proper dimensions. The minimum width is 68 yards. Carey Stadium was 65 yards wide last season but has since been increased to 71 yards.
"They did not give us a formal hearing, but they did hold a conference call and allow us to express our complaint on Thursday," Holloway said. "U.S. Soccer said they followed procedure and were not willing to change their decision to give (the Nor'easters the right) to host the Union."
The Union did offer some concessions, however.
Under the original rules of the U.S. Open Cup, the home team was allowed to keep 100 percent of the gate. If the Nor'easters were hosting the game, they stood to make as much as $100,000.
"The Union have worked with us and Ocean City will receive a portion of tickets purchased by O.C. fans," Holloway said.
Ocean City fans can buy tickets on www.philadelphiaunion.com/promo and enter the code NOREASTERS to sit with fellow Nor'easters fans.
Special early-bird prices ranging from $18 to $50 are available until midnight Monday.
Groups of 10 or more can avoid paying extra fees and have their name in lights on the scoreboard at halftime by calling the Union ticket office at 877-21-UNION, pressing 1 for ticketing and 3 for fan services, and then mentioning which team you are supporting.
Contact David Weinberg: