According to a SoccerWire report, the National Women’s Soccer League championship match will be held at a predetermined site, with all signs currently pointing to Portland as the yet-to-be-announced location.
An NWSL spokesman declined to comment on the report.
In both of the previous seasons, the championship match has been held by the highest seeded club in the postseason. There was little indication that the procedure would be different for the 2015 season.
The 2015 Competition Rules state:
The NWSL Championship will be a single championship match hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points. If the two finalists have the same number of regular season points, the tiebreaker for playoff qualification will be applied to determine the host team.
Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson discussed the new format on social media to clarify several points, most importantly that this was a change that was voted on prior to the start of the 2015 season:
He made it clear that Portland was a volunteer and did not ask for the match to be played in Portland.
It is important to note that while all signs are pointing to Portland that a final at Providence Park has not been made official.
The league’s television deal with Fox Sports was announced on June 30 (hours before the U.S. women took on Germany in the World Cup semifinals) and in that release, the date of the final had been changed from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1. There was no mention that that time that the process for determining a championship venue had changed.
The biggest issues are rooted in the fact that less than two months away from the showcase event of the season and these are details that have yet to be confirmed by the league. There has been no announcement, despite that this was something that was voted on before the start of the season. Seattle and Chicago, both fighting for the top spot, will not have the chance to host the final despite stellar regular seasons for both clubs.