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Blankety-Blank (UPDATED)

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The Baltimore Blast shut out the Detroit Waza last night, 26-0, in a Major Arena Soccer League game. (Detroit was delayed getting to the arena, as their bus broke down, which can happen when you leave the day of the game and try to drive 500+ miles.) In the high-scoring world of indoor/arena soccer, shutouts aren’t common, as you might expect. In fact, last night’s game was only the 110th 118th shutout in more than 9,300 9,600 regular-season games across 36 years and 10 different leagues. UPDATE: I have found eight more regular-season shutouts and have added all the playoff shutouts I could find that weren’t in a mini-game or golden goal situation. Here’s the list, for you history buffs (* denotes overtime periods):

Regular Season (118)
Date Lg Winner Sc Loser Sc
3/7/1979 MISL1 Houston Summit 9 Cleveland Force 0
12/14/1979 NASL Memphis Rogues 8 Tulsa Roughnecks 0
2/20/1980 MISL1 New York Arrows 7 Cleveland Force 0
3/9/1980 MISL1 Houston Summit 4 Cleveland Force 0
12/16/1980 MISL1 Philadelphia Fever 3 Wichita Wings 0
12/28/1980 MISL1 Wichita Wings 8 San Francisco Fog 0
1/2/1981 MISL1 Wichita Wings 10 Cleveland Force 0
1/8/1981 NASL Atlanta Chiefs 6 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0
1/24/1981 MISL1 Buffalo Stallions 5 Philadelphia Fever 0
12/10/1981 NASL Portland Timbers 5 San Jose Earthquakes 0
12/13/1981 MISL1 Wichita Wings 1 Denver Avalanche 0
1/31/1982 MISL1 Pittsburgh Spirit 11 Philadelphia Fever 0
2/7/1982 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 7 Kansas City Comets 0
3/27/1982 MISL1 Phoenix Inferno 3 Denver Avalanche 0
1/12/1983 MISL1 New York Arrows 5 Memphis Americans 0
1/14/1983 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 6 Chicago Sting 0
3/31/1983 MISL1 Pittsburgh Spirit 6 Cleveland Force 0
4/10/1983 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 2 Kansas City Comets 0
12/20/1983 MISL1 Tacoma Stars 3 Pittsburgh Spirit 0
1/4/1984 MISL1 Kansas City Comets 4 Memphis Americans 0
3/2/1984 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 3 Wichita Wings 0
11/2/1984 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 2 Chicago Sting 0
12/4/1984 MISL1 Tacoma Stars 3 Dallas Sidekicks 0
12/4/1984 MISL1 Wichita Wings 1 Kansas City Comets 0
12/9/1984 AISA Canton Invaders 5 Louisville Thunder 0
1/18/1985 AISA Columbus Capitals 8 Chicago Vultures 0
1/27/1985 MISL1 Chicago Sting 3 Kansas City Comets 0
2/3/1985 MISL1 Las Vegas Americans 7 Tacoma Stars 0
3/3/1985 MISL1 Las Vegas Americans 5 Minnesota Strikers 0
3/16/1985 MISL1 Los Angeles Lazers 3 Tacoma Stars 0
3/17/1985 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 3 Kansas City Comets 0
3/23/1985 MISL1 Las Vegas Americans 4 Chicago Sting 0
4/5/1985 MISL1 Chicago Sting 2 Las Vegas Americans 0
12/14/1985 MISL1 Wichita Wings 1 Tacoma Stars *0
1/3/1986 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 9 Wichita Wings 0
1/9/1986 MISL1 Pittsburgh Spirit 2 Kansas City Comets 0
1/10/1986 AISA Louisville Thunder 5 Kalamazoo Kangaroos 0
1/11/1986 AISA Canton Invaders 7 Chicago Shoccers 0
1/12/1986 MISL1 Baltimore Blast 3 Chicago Sting 0
1/17/1986 MISL1 Pittsburgh Spirit 1 Chicago Sting **0
1/18/1986 AISA Milwaukee Wave 2 Chicago Shoccers 0
2/8/1986 AISA Kalamazoo Kangaroos 7 Chicago Shoccers 0
3/14/1986 MISL1 St. Louis Steamers 1 Baltimore Blast 0
10/31/1986 AISA Fort Wayne Flames 3 Toledo Pride 0
11/30/1986 MISL1 Baltimore Blast 2 Dallas Sidekicks 0
12/5/1986 AISA Tampa Bay Rowdies 3 Toledo Pride 0
12/13/1986 AISA Chicago Shoccers 3 Fort Wayne Flames 0
1/23/1987 MISL1 Dallas Sidekicks 2 Los Angeles Lazers 0
2/6/1987 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 8 Los Angeles Lazers 0
3/15/1987 AISA Canton Invaders 10 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0
3/18/1987 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 7 Cleveland Force 0
3/21/1987 AISA Toledo Pride 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0
3/24/1987 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 8 Dallas Sidekicks 0
4/10/1987 MISL1 Wichita Wings 8 Los Angeles Lazers 0
4/26/1987 MISL1 Tacoma Stars 6 St. Louis Steamers 0
4/30/1987 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 0 Baltimore Blast 3
12/9/1987 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 2 St. Louis Steamers 0
12/12/1987 MISL1 Dallas Sidekicks 3 San Diego Sockers 0
12/13/1987 AISA Canton Invaders 3 Milwaukee Wave 0
12/19/1987 MISL1 Dallas Sidekicks 2 Wichita Wings 0
12/2/1988 AISA Canton Invaders 13 Memphis Storm 0
2/8/1989 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 4 Dallas Sidekicks 0
4/6/1989 MISL1 Tacoma Stars 1 Dallas Sidekicks 0
4/7/1989 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 4 Tacoma Stars 0
11/10/1989 MISL1 Cleveland Crunch 5 Tacoma Stars 0
11/17/1989 MISL1 Dallas Sidekicks 3 Wichita Wings 0
11/21/1989 AISA Canton Invaders 8 Atlanta Attack 0
12/1/1989 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 4 St. Louis Storm 0
12/8/1989 AISA Canton Invaders 11 Hershey Impact 0
2/18/1990 MISL1 Dallas Sidekicks 8 Cleveland Crunch 0
3/11/1990 AISA Dayton Dynamo 8 Indiana Kick 0
3/24/1990 MISL1 Baltimore Blast 6 Tacoma Stars 0
1/6/1991 NPSL Atlanta Attack 14 Milwaukee Wave 0
1/12/1991 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 7 Dallas Sidekicks 0
2/3/1991 NPSL Atlanta Attack 11 Hershey Impact 0
2/18/1991 MISL1 Baltimore Blast 6 Tacoma Stars 0
3/3/1991 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 4 Cleveland Crunch 0
1/24/1993 NPSL Harrisburg Heat 13 Wichita Wings 0
2/5/1993 NPSL Chicago Power 17 Milwaukee Wave 0
3/6/1993 NPSL Milwaukee Wave 14 Denver Thunder 0
1/20/1995 NPSL Cleveland Crunch 20 Canton Invaders 0
1/28/1995 NPSL Milwaukee Wave 16 Chicago Power 0
1/28/1995 NPSL Buffalo Blizzard 23 Dayton Dynamo 0
8/25/1995 CISL Portland Pride 10 Pittsburgh Stingers 0
12/8/1996 NPSL St. Louis Ambush 13 Toronto Shooting Stars 0
8/17/1997 CISL Seattle Seadogs 6 Sacramento Knights 0
11/30/1997 NPSL St. Louis Ambush 17 Kansas City Attack 0
2/8/1998 NPSL St. Louis Ambush 13 Edmonton Drillers 0
2/28/1999 NPSL Montreal Impact 14 Florida Thundercats 0
3/27/1999 NPSL Philadelphia Kixx 16 Florida Thundercats 0
3/28/1999 NPSL Kansas City Attack 21 Florida Thundercats 0
4/2/1999 NPSL Philadelphia Kixx 12 Florida Thundercats 0
9/2/2000 WISL Arizona Thunder 6 St. Louis Steamers 0
9/16/2000 WISL Arizona Thunder 3 Houston Hotshots 0
10/30/2000 WISL Utah Freezz 6 Monterrey La Raza 0
9/8/2001 WISL Utah Freezz 3 St. Louis Steamers 0
10/7/2001 WISL Dallas Sidekicks 3 St. Louis Steamers 0
11/23/2001 WISL Dallas Sidekicks 6 Sacramento Knights 0
12/2/2001 WISL San Diego Sockers 5 Dallas Sidekicks 0
1/17/2004 MISL2 Philadelphia Kixx 5 San Diego Sockers 0
1/25/2004 MISL2 Dallas Sidekicks 1 Philadelphia Kixx 0
3/14/2004 MISL2 Cleveland Force 4 Dallas Sidekicks 0
4/2/2004 MISL2 Monterrey Fury 3 San Diego Sockers 0
2/19/2005 MISL2 Kansas City Comets 4 Philadelphia Kixx 0
2/4/2006 MISL2 St. Louis Steamers 4 Chicago Storm 0
1/5/2008 MISL2 Philadelphia Kixx 4 Baltimore Blast 0
3/22/2008 MISL2 Baltimore Blast 13 Chicago Storm 0
12/27/2008 NISL Rockford Rampage 43 Mass. Twisters 0
11/22/2009 MISL3 Milwaukee Wave 15 Monterrey La Raza 0
2/21/2010 MISL3 Baltimore Blast 9 Rockford Rampage 0
3/4/2011 MISL3 Milwaukee Wave 21 Omaha Vipers 0
1/4/2013 MISL3 Chicago Soul 11 Syracuse Silver Knights 0
11/23/2013 MISL3 Milwaukee Wave 8 Baltimore Blast 0
12/13/2013 MISL3 Baltimore Blast 12 Rochester Lancers 0
12/21/2013 MISL3 Baltimore Blast 29 Pennsylvania Roar 0
12/31/2013 MISL3 Baltimore Blast 24 Pennsylvania Roar 0
1/19/2014 MISL3 Pennsylvania Roar 16 St. Louis Ambush 0
11/14/2014 MASL Baltimore Blast 26 Detroit Waza 0
Playoffs (14)
2/18/1981 NASL California Surf 3 Vancouver Whitecaps 0
5/13/1983 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 6 Baltimore Blast 0
5/15/1983 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 7 Baltimore Blast 0
4/5/1985 AISA Louisville Thunder 11 Columbus Capitals 0
5/14/1985 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 7 Minnesota Strikers 0
5/8/1988 MISL1 Minnesota Strikers 7 Cleveland Force 0
4/9/1989 AISA Canton Invaders 5 Hershey Impact 0
5/19/1989 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 1 Dallas Sidekicks 0
6/8/1989 MISL1 Baltimore Blast 7 San Diego Sockers 0
5/22/1990 MISL1 San Diego Sockers 4 Dallas Sidekicks 0
4/17/1991 NPSL Chicago Power 12 Dayton Dynamo 0
10/8/1995 CISL Sacramento Knights 4 San Jose Grizzlies 0
4/24/1999 NPSL Cleveland Crunch 15 Philadelphia KiXX 0
12/7/2001 WISL St. Louis Steamers 1 San Diego Sockers 0

The Blast’s margin of victory last night was the third-highest in the sport’s history for a shutout game. Rockford defeated Massachusetts 43-0 on December 27, 2008 (the Twisters went on to finish 1-17), and Baltimore beat Pennsylvania 29-0 last December 21. Obviously, those were under multi-point scoring. The largest single-point scoring shutout I see is Pittsburgh over Philadelphia 11-0 on January 31, 1982.

Baltimore (in its two iterations) has 10 lifetime shutouts to lead everybody, while the Dallas Sidekicks were shut out the most times (eight).

I’d have to dig deeper to create a list of goalkeepers who have pitched shutouts, but that will have to wait for another day. If you have additions or corrections to the above list, send them my way.

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November 15th, 2014 at 9:37 am

Because The Great Depression Wasn’t All That Great

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An incredibly dumb zealot

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November 9th, 2014 at 9:55 am

To Die And Live In L.A.

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blog_die_live_la

The ten year experiment that was Chivas USA is no more, and a new Los Angeles franchise in Major League Soccer will replace the erstwhile Goats in 2017.

Failure or not, depending on who’s doing the remembering, Chivas USA wasn’t going to be a help to anyone going forward, and with a well-financed ownership group with plans for its own stadium, the switch makes sense for all concerned. Original co-owners Antonio Cue and Jorge Vergara got out with more than they paid (though probably not more than they lost), MLS made money on the flip and there’s no more attendance-dragging stepchild club at the soon-to-be-renovated StubHub Center.

A couple of things I’m skeptical about, though, include the idea that a new stadium somewhere in Greater Los Angeles will be ready by spring 2017 and this whole “LAFC” nonsense. While I’m not as curmudgeonly about it as Paul Gardner, I’m on record as being against “FC” as a sole team name (only partially because of its Europosing-ness, mostly because it’s lazy). The new owners have hinted that might not be the final name when the club kicks off (somewhere) in 2017, but I remain unconvinced.

I’m also skeptical about MLS’ insistence on second teams in New York and Los Angeles in general. I know the other sports leagues have multiple teams in those markets, but MLS’ addition of them (especially in New York) just smacks of desperation and overreach. Don Garber has done a lot of good in his 15+ years as MLS commissioner (much more than some thought when he was appointed back in 1999), but the ramrodding of a team into New York City, co-owned by the Yankees (of all people) that will have to play its first three years (at least) in Yankee Stadium when its current New York-area team has had a checkered past, at best seems silly and counterproductive.

Television (as it almost always does) likely factored into this. The league has new TV deals about to kick in that will pay it more than ever before, and the idea of more potential eyeballs in the two biggest markets may have helped grease the skids for that.

I understood the Chivas USA experiment at the time: an all-in effort to try to attract a demographic that had largely ignored MLS for much of its first nine years, at a time when talk of expansion was met with laughter and rolled eyes. And I understand why the time had come to pull the plug. I hope the “new strategy for the Los Angeles market” is successful. Because for all of its recent wins, MLS can’t afford these two high-profile additions to fail.

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November 8th, 2014 at 11:27 am

Posted in soccer

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Taking Attendance 11/3/2014: NASL Sets New Division II Record

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We are truly living in a golden age for professional outdoor soccer in this country. All three men’s professional levels of the game set new average attendance records this season, with Major League Soccer drawing 19,149 a game, USL Pro breaking the 3,000-a-game mark and now, the North American Soccer League setting a new record for Division II attendance in the modern era. The fourth-year NASL broke the former record of 5,164 per game set by the USL First Division in 2008 by averaging 5,521 a game.

First, the numbers:

Team G Total Avg. Med. High Low
Indy Eleven 14 146,512 10,465 10,285 11,048 10,285
Minnesota United 13 105,149 8,088 5,817 34,047 4,913
San Antonio Scorpions 14 94,562 6,754 6,721 8,313 5,594
New York Cosmos 14 69,469 4,962 4,457 8,565 3,091
Carolina Railhawks 13 59,167 4,551 4,179 7,856 3,080
Tampa Bay Rowdies 14 63,700 4,550 4,322 7,003 2,565
Ottawa Fury 14 62,883 4,492 4,054 14,593 2,158
Atlanta Silverbacks 13 52,684 4,053 3,922 5,000 2,905
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 13 47,138 3,626 3,109 5,756 2,409
FC Edmonton 13 44,004 3,385 3,152 4,399 2,796
NASL TOTAL 135 745,268 5,521 4,666 34,047 2,158

Now, some context: A large part of this gain is from the expansion club in Indianapolis, which became only the fifth lower-division organization in modern history to average more than 10,000 fans per game. Selling out every home game, Indy Eleven averaged 10,465, the highest Division II average since Montreal’s swan song in the second flight in 2011. Without Indianapolis, the NASL average was 4,948 – still an improvement over last year’s 4,670 average, but not a record. Still, there is cause for optimism in the second division, as, outside of Edmonton and the nascent Oklahoma City and Virginia clubs, there don’t appear to be a lot of organizations teetering on the brink of disappearing.

Compared to last year’s numbers, Minnesota was way up (82%, thanks in part to a big doubleheader, but they did draw consistently well all year for their other games as well), Edmonton had the benefit of its expanded stadium for the full year and was up 39% (still not good enough) and Tampa Bay was up 12.5%. That’s the good news. San Antonio and Carolina dropped slightly (2.6% and 3.3%, respectively), but Atlanta (where the Silverbacks may be on their way out) was off 13% and Ft. Lauderdale (despite making it to the league semifinals) was off 15%.

And then there’s the vaunted New York Cosmos. Drawing a season-high 8,565 to their home finale on October 25 helped keep their second-year drop from being worse, but their average announced attendance was off an alarming 28% from their maiden season. They may be counting on 2015 signing Raul to boost the numbers next season, but he turns 38 next June and will be playing a lot of games on turf before and after that. We’ll see.

The split-season format (in which teams played 1/3 of their games before the World Cup and 2/3 after) saw six of the ten teams draw worse in the Fall Championship than they had in the Spring, with only Indy (identical averages), San Antonio (up 7%), Minnesota (up 65%) and Ottawa (up 105%) seeing gains in the second stanza. Southeastern teams Carolina (-22%), Atlanta (-21%), Tampa Bay (-14%) and Fort Lauderdale (-8%) all dropped in the fall. Overall, the league averaged 5,346 in the spring (4,913 median) and 5,608 in the fall (4,513 median).

There was a bit of a World Cup bump (the league averaged 5,346 before Brazil and 5,732 after it), but the two major events in the fall accounted for a lot of that.

Besides November’s small sample of five games, the best month for average attendance was August (6,153, thanks to Man City and Olympiakos), while the rest of the months were pretty steady (June’s 5,150 was the lowest).

With the league scheduling the vast majority of its matches on weekends (127 of the 134 matches were on Saturday or Sunday), days of the week comparisons are hard to make, but Saturday games averaged 5,620 and Sunday matches 4,831.

Jacksonville (which recently finalized its lease at the local baseball stadium) will join the ranks in 2015, with Oklahoma City’s final disposition still up in the air. Assuming Edmonton sticks around (and they appear to be), there will be either 11 or 12 clubs in the NASL next season. Still to be determined is how a split season format would work and what playoff format they will choose this time.

But the overall takeaway from the 2014 season at all three levels of the pro game should be an optimistic one. Never have so many enjoyed so much for so long.

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November 2nd, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Taking Attendance 10/27/2014: MLS Up 3%, Sets New Record

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The 19th Major League Soccer season ended Sunday with a new record for total (6,184,980) and average (19,149) attendance, poising the league to potentially average 20k in its 20th season in 2015.

First the numbers:

 

Team G Tot. Avg. Med. Hi Lo Ch.
Seattle 17 743,485 43,734 38,976 64,207 38,441 -0.7%
Toronto 17 375,463 22,086 22,591 22,591 18,269 +21.9%
Los Angeles 17 361,392 21,258 20,847 27,244 14,615 -3.3%
Portland 17 353,838 20,814 20,814 20,814 20,814 +0.7%
Vancouver 17 346,943 20,408 21,000 22,500 17,183 +1.9%
Salt Lake 17 345,971 20,351 20,483 20,701 18,881 +5.9%
Houston 17 341,994 20,117 20,283 22,332 15,030 +1.0%
Kansas City 17 340,058 20,003 19,914 21,493 18,938 +1.5%
New York 17 330,162 19,421 20,176 25,000 13,278 -0.2%
Philadelphia 17 299,730 17,631 18,091 18,843 14,838 -1.3%
Montreal 17 296,159 17,421 16,665 27,207 13,916 -15.4%
DC 17 289,506 17,030 14,106 53,267 8,224 +24.8%
Columbus 17 286,976 16,881 17,517 21,318 11,121 5.0%
Dallas 17 285,880 16,816 16,792 21,182 14,601 +9.4%
New England 17 283,583 16,681 14,806 32,766 11,293 +12.4%
Chicago 17 273,293 16,076 16,228 18,776 12,699 +5.6%
Colorado 17 256,386 15,082 15,135 18,432 10,086 -2.3%
San Jose 17 254,098 14,947 10,525 50,006 9,114 +17.1%
Chivas USA 17 120,063 7,063 5,571 18,652 3,702 -15.6%
MLS TOTAL 323 6,184,980 19,149 18,679 64,207 3,702 +3.0%

 

Now, some notes and such:

  • Seattle led the league in attendance for the fifth straight year, though their average actually dropped slightly (less than 1%, nothing to be concerned about) for the first time. Overall, eight of the league’s 19 teams averaged over 20k, the first time that’s ever happened.
  • DC United was the biggest gainer from a year ago, as their average in 2014 was almost 25% ahead of 2013’s numbers. Toronto (up 22%), San Jose (up 17% thanks to a couple of marquee off-site games) and New England (up 12%) showed significant growth. Most of the other clubs were within a few percentage points of their performance of a year ago (we’re getting close to capacity in most of these places), but Chivas USA (who is no longer with us) dropped about 16% in their swan song season and Montreal was off 15%.
  • My number for Portland doesn’t match the league’s, because I believe they have a transposition error somewhere. The Timbers announced – to my knowledge, anyway – a capacity crowd of 20,814 for each of their 17 home league matches. That should result in a total of 353,838, but the league has them at 353,208. The error – 630 – is common when someone enters a number incorrectly. (My guess is someone entered one of Portland’s games as 20,184 instead of 20,814. The error is – wait for it – 630.) I have alerted the league, but they don’t usually listen to me, so we’ll see what happens.
  • With San Jose moving into its new stadium next year, Chivas going to the Great Beyond and New York and Orlando coming on board, there would seem to be a very good chance the league can draw 6,800,000 for its 340 matches in 2015. That would give it an average of 20,000 in its twentieth season. Not bad considering where we were 10 or 12 years ago.
  • October was the best average month (20,365), but they were all good (the low was April at 17,242).
  • Weekdays used to be scary. And there was great angst when the Friday night TV package was unveiled a few years ago. Now Monday-through-Thursday games averaged 16,269, while Friday through Sunday games averaged 19,579. And Friday was the best night of the week at 22,012 in a small sample (25 games). The real takeaway is that even Wednesdays aren’t a big problem anymore. And the difference between weekends and weekdays, once huge, has narrowed. (Just as a comparison, weekday games averaged under 10k from 1997-1999.)
  • The first 161 games averaged 18,524, while the last 162 averaged 19,970.
  • Home openers averaged 19,610. Home finales averaged 20,979.
  • National TV games – which were also scary, once, averaged 21,623.
  • As for the World Cup Effect, MLS averaged 18,497 before the World Cup (18,068 median), 20,338 during its knockout stages (19,633 median) and 19,492 after it (18,989 median). A mild statistical bump that we don’t usually see, but which could be attributed to many things.
  • Without Chivas USA as a drag, the league would still have drawn 6 million (6,064,917), but wouldn’t have averaged 20k (close, though – 19,820).

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October 27th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

A Pointed Discussion

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blog_indoor_soccer_generic_photo
Did you know the indoor soccer season starts tomorrow? You probably did not. Even the handful of true aficionados of the six-a-side game with walls find themselves paying more attention to lingering drama from the offseason than excitement in thoughts of the new season.

Read the rest of this entry »

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October 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Bill Peterson Says Crazy Stuff, Vol. 584

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The Commissioner of the North American Soccer League is a really special kind of crazy. He’s at it again, this time opining about how great the US Open Cup could and should be:

“Here is a chance to get three leagues and the amateurs involved and light up over 70-80 communities at once.” 

No, absolutely no communities get “lit up” over the first two rounds of the Cup when it’s Red Force against the Colorado Rovers.

“It has the capacity to be followed by the whole country.”

Absolutely ridiculous. The Super Bowl is followed by just over half the country.

“You have got 340 million people in the United States alone…” 

2013 estimate from the US Census bureau: 316M. Only off by 24 million. And it doesn’t matter, because there aren’t 340 million soccer fans.

“Why can’t our champions have a direct entry (to the CONCACAF Champions League)?” 

Because you’re a second division league and main continental competitions don’t give second-division leagues direct access. You want us to be just like Europe except when it benefits you.

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October 22nd, 2014 at 7:18 am

Taking Attendance 9/29/2014: Seasons Change

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With the North American Soccer League’s Fall Season a month away from completion, here is a look at the second-division circuit’s crowd numbers for all of 2014, and the Spring and Fall campaigns:

Overall Attendance G Total Avg. Med. Hi Lo
Indy 12 125,245 10,437 10,285 11,048 10,285
Minnesota 10 87,401 8,740 5,811 34,047 4,913
San Antonio 11 74,711 6,792 6,958 8,313 5,594
Ottawa 11 51,671 4,697 4,206 14,593 2,158
Tampa Bay 10 46,580 4,658 4,336 7,003 3,896
New York 11 50,238 4,567 4,130 7,906 3,091
Carolina 11 48,528 4,412 4,066 7,856 3,080
Atlanta 10 41,718 4,172 4,366 5,000 3,011
Edmonton 11 38,016 3,456 3,276 4,399 2,796
Ft. Lauderdale 10 32,825 3,283 3,107 5,572 2,409
NASL TOTAL 107 596,933 5,579 4,649 34,047 2,158
 
Spring Attendance G Total Avg. Med. Hi Lo
Indy 5 52,324 10,465 10,285 11,048 10,285
San Antonio 5 32,381 6,476 6,484 7,381 5,595
Minnesota 4 22,309 5,577 5,306 6,784 4,913
Carolina 4 21,456 5,364 4,797 7,856 4,007
New York 5 25,203 5,041 5,038 7,906 3,091
Tampa Bay 5 24,991 4,998 4,670 7,003 4,132
Atlanta 4 18,922 4,731 5,000 5,000 3,922
Ft. Lauderdale 4 15,301 3,825 3,312 5,572 3,105
Edmonton 4 14,277 3,569 3,459 4,399 2,961
Ottawa 5 13,418 2,684 2,432 3,457 2,158
NASL TOTAL 45 240,582 5,346 4,913 11,048 2,158
 
Fall Attendance G Total Avg. Med. Hi Lo
Minnesota 6 65,092 10,849 6,613 34,047 5,112
Indy 7 72,921 10,417 10,285 10,659 10,285
San Antonio 6 42,330 7,055 7,403 8,313 5,594
Ottawa 6 38,253 6,376 4,954 14,593 4,206
Tampa Bay 5 21,589 4,318 4,273 4,868 3,896
New York 6 25,035 4,173 4,215 4,649 3,626
Carolina 7 27,072 3,867 3,193 5,593 3,080
Atlanta 6 22,796 3,799 3,457 5,000 3,011
Edmonton 7 23,739 3,391 3,152 4,392 2,796
Ft. Lauderdale 6 17,524 2,921 3,049 3,257 2,409
NASL TOTAL 62 356,351 5,748 4,447 34,047 2,409

NOTES:

  • The fall average (5,748) is about 7.5% higher than the spring average, but it’s skewed a bit by two major outliers: a doubleheader in Minnesota with an announced 34,047 crowd and the opening of Ottawa’s new TD Place, to which 14,593 flocked on July 20. The fall median is quite a bit lower than the spring median, which aligns with the fact that nearly every team has a lower average in the fall than it did in the spring. Thanks to those large one-off crowds, Minnesota (up 95%) and Ottawa (up 138%) are up significantly, while San Antonio’s average is up about 9%. The rest of the league has seen drops ranging from insignificant (Indy -.5%, they’ve sold out every game) to somewhat alarming (Carolina off 28%, Ft. Lauderdale off 24%, Atlanta off 20%).
  • The New York Cosmos, who used to be able to draw a crowd of nostalgiaphiles on the road (which, oddly enough, they’ve been unable to do consistently at home), have played to an average of 5,904 – slightly above the league average – for 11 road games. They were the opponent in Ottawa’s new stadium opener, though, so in the other 10 road matches, the average is 5,035. The bloom has worn off that rose.
  • Other Things Skewing The League Average: Without Indianapolis, the league average is 4,965.
  • The NASL will surely break the second division record for average attendance by a league (5,164 by the USL First Division in 2008) and Indy will become the fourth Division II club to average 10k (and fifth overall after Sacramento did it this season in USL Pro.)
  • If you’re curious about the impact of the FIFA World Cup, the NASL averaged 5,346 for 45 games prior to the tournament, 3,497 for a handful of games during the tail end of it and 5,945 afterwards (with both the Ottawa stadium opener and the Minnesota doubleheader falling in the “after” timeframe).

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September 29th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Attendance,soccer

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Taking Attendance 9/15/2014: Final USL Pro Attendance Numbers

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The fourth season for USL Pro is now complete and here are the final unofficial attendance numbers for the Division III league. (As always, additions, corrections and comments are welcomed.)

Team G Total Avg. Med. High Low
Sacramento Republic FC 14 158,107 11,293 8,000 20,231 8,000
Rochester Rhinos 14 74,603 5,329 5,104 8,378 4,007
Orlando City SC 14 66,402 4,743 4,818 5,029 4,206
OKC Energy FC 14 52,975 3,784 3,819 4,722 2,813
Charleston Battery 14 52,786 3,770 3,846 5,415 2,214
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 14 37,606 2,686 2,565 3,902 2,005
Richmond Kickers 14 37,508 2,679 2,594 3,562 2,010
Arizona United SC 14 33,528 2,395 2,225 3,588 1,482
Wilmington Hammerheads 14 32,561 2,326 2,250 3,256 1,757
Harrisburg City Islanders 14 27,289 1,949 1,934 2,518 1,417
Orange County Blues FC 14 10,719 766 714 1,226 431
Charlotte Eagles 14 10,453 747 699 1,261 498
LA Galaxy II 14 8,359 597 530 1,259 127
Dayton Dutch Lions 14 7,455 533 488 1,026 213
MLS Reserve Teams 6 12,668 2,111 358 11,202 100
USL PRO TOTAL 202 623,019 3,084 2,367 20,231 100

NOTES:

  • Division III cracked the 3,000 per game barrier for the first time (beating the 2012 mark of 2,658), thanks in part to Sacramento’s record-breaking season. Without the Republic, the other 13 teams averaged 2,485 per game.
  • Sacramento became the first Division III team to ever break the 10,000 per game barrier and joined Rochester, Montreal and Portland as the only lower-level clubs to ever accomplish it. (Indianapolis will join that group at the conclusion of the NASL season.)
  • The biggest gainer year-over-year was Arizona United (which technically is a new franchise and not a continuation of 2013’s Phoenix FC, but just for comparison’s sake), which finished up 56% from a year ago. Harrisburg was up 34% (though they’re still under the 2,000 line), Orange County was up 7% (though still under the 1,000 line) and Richmond and Charleston both finished up about 6%.
  • On the flip side, Charlotte (in their final professional season before dropping to the PDL) fell about 8%, Rochester was down about 10%, Pittsburgh (which declared bankruptcy several months back) finished down 18%, Wilmington was down an alarming 26%, and Dayton (still a mystery) was down 29%. Then we have annual attendance leader Orlando, which was down 41%, but that was because they moved to a much smaller venue while Citrus Bowl renovations are ongoing. The Lions still played to 86% capacity, one of the top marks in the league. (Sacramento 98%, OKC 95%, Harrisburg 89%).
  • May was the best month for the league overall, with a 3,474 average for 36 matches. April (2,712) was the worst.
  • Thursdays beat out Saturdays (3,937 to 3,261) for the best day of the week, but that’s a bit misleading because there were only nine Thursday matches and three of them were in Sacramento. In all, weekends (Friday-Sunday) beat weekdays (Monday-Thursday) by about 20%.
  • It’s hard to discern a true “World Cup Bounce,” if you were looking for one. USL Pro averaged 3,167 for 85 matches prior to the World Cup, 2,901 for 37 matches during it and 3,081 for 80 matches after it.
  • I only have data for five of the 14 league matches hosted by MLS Reserve teams this year, and outside of Real Salt Lake’s 11,202 for their July 25 match against Pittsburgh, they were nothing to write home about.
  • Next year, we will see a bevy of new teams, many of them owned and operated by MLS clubs. If the LA Galaxy II experiment is any indication, some of these secondary teams may struggle to find an audience (not that that is their raison d’etre). Real Salt Lake, Montreal and possibly Seattle and Dallas will have their own teams in the league in 2015, to be joined by clubs in Louisville, Colorado Springs, Austin, Tulsa and St. Louis. Going forward, league numbers are probably going to require a bit of deeper analysis when comparing them to prior years because a situation is developing where a third or more of the league’s teams may eventually be focused primarily on player development and not operating as a ticket-selling business.

Written by admin

September 15th, 2014 at 8:25 am

Taking Attendance 8/21/2014: Final NWSL Numbers

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With the Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC completing a weather postponed-game last night, the second National Women’s Soccer League regular season is officially in the books. Here are the (unofficial) final attendance numbers for the women’s Division I pro league:

Team G Total Avg. Median High Low
Portland Thorns FC 12 160,341 13,362 13,633 19,123 9,672
Houston Dash 12 54,468 4,539 4,057 8,097 3,505
Seattle Reign FC 12 43,581 3,632 3,592 5,957 1,754
Washington Spirit 12 40,019 3,335 2,984 4,667 2,306
Western New York Flash 12 38,125 3,177 3,121 4,339 1,786
Chicago Red Stars 12 35,393 2,949 1,918 15,743 1,039
Boston Breakers 12 29,248 2,437 2,373 4,191 1,263
FC Kansas City 12 24,215 2,018 1,825 3,107 1,212
Sky Blue FC 12 19,682 1,640 1,339 3,471 582
NWSL TOTAL 108 445,072 4,121 3,006 19,123 582


NOTES:
  • Portland led the league for the second straight year, with an average ever-so-slightly above last year’s (13,320 in 2013) that included a league-record 19,123 crowd on August 3 that was the 10th-highest in women’s pro soccer history.
  • Expansion Houston finished second in the attendance derby, which means many will make the connection between the two MLS-backed organizations and success and figure that’s the only way forward. While there are certainly economies of scale and infrastructure advantages, it may not be as simple as every MLS team simply adding a distaff version. Portland and Houston have proven that they’re really good at selling soccer, and not every MLS team can say that.
  • Just over 48 percent of all the people who attended an NWSL match this season did so in either Portland or Houston.
  • Chicago, on the strength of a doubleheader home opener that drew 15,743, saw a 72% rise in average announced attendance in 2014, but their median was just 1,918. Most of the Red Stars’ crowds were not impressive.
  • The second-biggest gainer was Seattle, which went from a 2,306 average in 2013 to 3,632 in 2014 after a move back into Seattle proper and during a first-place campaign on the field.
  • Portland and Boston (up 0.4%) maintained their crowds of a year ago, but four other teams saw drops ranging from diminutive to disquieting. Kansas City (which moved into a better, but smaller facility) saw their average cut in half and then some (56.4%) and Western New York (which only had hometowner Abby Wambach for 10 of 24 games) saw its crowds drop 29%. Washington was down just under 8% and Sky Blue FC saw a small (1.4%) drop, maintaining its position as the worst-drawing team in the league. Sky Blue also drew an announced 582 for its April 30 game against Seattle, which was the lowest announced crowd in WUSA-WPS-NWSL history. (The club actually has the bottom four marks in WoSo history, with three of them coming this year.)
  • Overall, the NWSL’s average attendance was down 3.5% from 2013, but in comparison to the second years of the previous two attempts at women’s pro soccer, that’s a victory. WUSA’s average dropped 14% from 2001 to 2002 and WPS’ average fell 23% from 2009 to 2010. A 3.5% drop and a couple of anchor markets is cause for optimism.
  • Without the Thorns in 2014, the rest of the NWSL averaged 2,966. Last year that figure was 2,977.
  • The best day of the week for average attendance in the NWSL this year was Saturday (4,936), despite many of Portland’s home games being played on Sundays. Fridays (small sample, just six games, skewed by a Portland game) had the highest average (5,142) with Sundays coming in at 4,334. Wednesdays (on which about 27% of the league’s matches were played) pulled in an average of 2,981. Overall, Saturday/Sunday games did 43% better than Monday-through-Friday games.
  • August was the best month, with a 4,851 average for 17 matches, continuing a trend that saw games last August draw an average of 4,789. May was the lowest-average month (3,784).
  • The NWSL did see an uptick in the second half of its season. The first 54 games averaged 3,839, while the last 54 games averaged 4,403. There was an uptick during and after the men’s World Cup, with the NWSL averaging 3,889 before Brazil, 4,217 during and 4,536 afterwards. (MLS, the NASL and USL Pro also saw increases post-World Cup from their pre-World Cup averages.)
  • So, what does the NWSL do now? There have been no expansion teams announced for 2015, and next season will be a key one for this league. Neither of the other two attempts have made it past year three, and with the Women’s World Cup likely to wreak havoc with their schedule, the summer of 2015 may be make-or-break. The national federations of the United States, Canada and Mexico are funding the NWSL salaries of many star players, and it’s reasonable to wonder if that support will continue on Canada’s and Mexico’s part if they don’t do well in FIFA’s potentially lawsuit-challenged tournament.
  • Written by admin

    August 21st, 2014 at 8:43 am