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All-Star Game announcement creates interesting MLS Cup questions

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With the Red Bull Arena being awarded the MLS All-Star Game, not MLS Cup, there is plenty of food for thought about who is going to host the final game of the season. If MLS is to retain its system of awarding the game to a neutral site — something the league reviewed in 2009 but decided to continue on with after Seattle fans packed the house on a rainy Sunday November night to see Real Salt Lake take the title in penalty kicks over the Los Angeles Galaxy — New York is out for 2011.

Commissioner Don Garber said the MLS Cup “could be at some point” awarded to the New York area, but he and the league are concerned about the cold November weather. That means the league may have learned something from holding a night game in Toronto last season, where there were thousands of empty seats. Temperatures near the freezing mark and bitter breezes off Lake Ontario made the game a chilly one.

MLS Cup was held in cold-weather venues before, such as Foxboro, Mass. and Columbus, but those were day games. And that’s a massive difference.

So, we can either expect MLS Cup to be awarded to a warm-weather venue, or MLS will, as promised during last year’s final, to reopen the debate about awarding the game to the team in the final with the better regular-season record.

Because fans will come out in the cold to support the home team — we saw that in the Eastern Conference final last year, when Colorado Rapids fans packed the house to see their team beat San Jose.

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