Phoenix Rising FC relinquishes hosting rights for 2020 USL Championship Final after earning home-field in part due to forfeit

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LouCity talks after the 2-0 win over Saint Louis to advance to a sixth Eastern Conference Final.

Louisville Courier Journal

Less than 24 hours after the United Soccer League affirmed and then reiterated the Phoenix Rising’s claim to home-field advantage should it advance to the league’s championship game, the franchise relinquished that right in recognition that it was tainted.

Having tied Louisville City FC in total points and victories thanks to a forfeit by San Diego Loyal, Phoenix Rising had earned hosting priority based on a third tiebreaker: goal differential. But because that forfeit was the result of San Diego’s protest of an alleged homophobic slur by Phoenix forward Junior Flemmings, Rising management recognized what might have been a glaring optics issue.

As a result, the winner of Saturday’s Eastern Conference final between Louisville City FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies will play host to the championship game on Nov. 1. 

According to a USL press release issued Tuesday evening, the Rising’s request “was made out of respect for the LGBTQ community” and in recognition that the circumstances surrounding the forfeit would have made hosting the…

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