Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category
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):
|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|
|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.
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.
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:
|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|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||63,700||4,550||4,322||7,003||2,565|
|Ft. Lauderdale Strikers||13||47,138||3,626||3,109||5,756||2,409|
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.
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:
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).
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.
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)?”
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:
- 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).
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.)
|Sacramento Republic FC||14||158,107||11,293||8,000||20,231||8,000|
|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|
|Arizona United SC||14||33,528||2,395||2,225||3,588||1,482|
|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|
|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|
- 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.
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:
|Portland Thorns FC||12||160,341||13,362||13,633||19,123||9,672|
|Seattle Reign FC||12||43,581||3,632||3,592||5,957||1,754|
|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|
|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|