The MLS regular season came to a conclusion on Sunday after a weekend of exciting games, miserable weather and varied attendance. The final “weekend” got started on Thursday night in Chicago where an announced crwod of 17k plus braved monsoon like conditions to see the home team clinch a playoff birth. Similar weather conditions greeted Toronto and New York as they closed Giants Stadium before 21k.
The action continued in Kansas City, where 10,300 were at Community America Ballpark to see the Wizards draw DC United. In Salt Lake City, more than18k filled Rio Tinto to see RSL clinch an improbable spot in the MLS playoffs. In Seattle, a record crowd of more than 33k celebrated the expansion side’s run into the playoffs with a dramatic come from behind victory over desperate Dallas. In Los Angeles a reported sell out of 27k were in attendance to see Beckham, Donovan and Co. close out the regular season with a clean sheet against San Jose.
On Sunday, Columbus celebrated their Supporters Shield victory before at Crew Stadium as they fell to the Revs before 17,500 and back in Los Angeles, 14,500 saw the final regular season game at the Home Depot Center as Houston beat Chivas 3-2. Overall, it was a very nice weekend at MLS stadiums and the fans were treated to some dramatic and exciting games. A final attendance report from MLS is here.
So the playoffs are set, with RSL and New England holding down the final spots. Fans of these teams are obviously excited, but what about the League? If MLS could handpick its playoff teams, who would they be? If we were MLS, we would hope for: Galaxy, Sounders, Dynamo, RSL, Fire, TFC, United and the Crew. These are teams that typically draw well and/or are recognizable to sports media outside the somewhat insular world of MLS.
All in all, MLS is probably pretty happy. Beckham and Blanco are still big draws, while Seattle guarantees at least one big crowd. Houston typically draws well for playoff games. The League manages to avoid cavernous Giants Stadium and and its two smallest venues in San Jose and Kansas City. The glaring omission is TFC where the great support continues to go unrequited by the team on the field. At some point the support will wane if the team continues to falter and quit as they appeared to do on Saturday.
Over the week, we will do a series of stories on the playoffs, playoff attendance and playoff fans.