Playoffs are looming in Major League Soccer and the Supporters Shield race is wrapping up. Lost in the excitement of the close contests is the significance of finish is the business significance of first place. As was the case last year, the team with the best record left standing for MLS Cup is the home team. As of this writing, that means that the December championship will be at Red Bull Arena if New York can run the playoff table. Recall what Howard Handler told us about the change during our interview last Spring: “ In the early days, a neutral site gave us more time to plan and sell more tickets. Having a competitively determined site is a statement to the confidence we have in the size and intensity of our fan base, truly one of the distinguishing aspects of MLS today.”
On to attendance, where the week started with one non-weekend match from Carson. Unfortunately for the attendance numbers, the dreaded “Carson Cap” was in effect limiting the crowd to less than 14k per the Galaxy’s agreement with the town/college.
On Friday night, KC managed both a victory and a crowd of approximately 19k. Dallas followed that with a 14k+ crowd on Saturday night in the same week their coach announced he was stepping down. Colorado continued its great season end surge in attendance with more than 18k at DSG on Saturday night for the team’s 7th sellout of 2013.
On fan appreciation night, the Revs managed a fantastic 26k plus crowd at Gillette and treated the home fans to a 3-2 victory. The big crowds continued with almost 19k in Chicago at Toyota Park. Another hum hum 20k plus sellout in Portland as the Timbers clinched their first playoff birth. Finally on Sunday, 22k plus at BBVA Compass were treated to a 3-0 shellacking of the home side with New York playing the role of villian.
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