Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 12

Posted on by Peter C


This week’s eight matches averaged just over 13,100. Last year’s week 12 included a visit by Beckham to San Jose. The game was at Oakland Alameda and drew over 39,800.
After 92 matches, the league is drawing 1,479 fewer per game than the first 92 games last year, a 9.1% decrease. On the up side, the average was 2,000 better than the corresponding week in 2005 which also had World Cup Qualifiers. I’ll have more on that in another post.

This part of the season is where, as Kartik mentioned when I first began posting attendance numbers, this year might be better compared to 2005, the last World Cup Qualifying year.
On Saturday, June 4 2005 US v Costa Rica drew 40,586 at Rice Eccles as part of a doubleheader with RSL v FC Dallas, boosting RSL’s(and MLS) numbers.

Remember that the week 12 to week 12 comparisons are not the same as the calendar date comparisons. Last year’s week 12 games occurred one week later than this year.and in 2005 it was around 2 weeks later.

The games began with the Red Bulls visiting DCU. A steady rain kept the crowd to a tad over 11,200. On Friday, Houston came to Chicago on the eve of the USMNT’s match vs Honduras in the same city and had a so-so gate under 13,300.

On Saturday, when the USMNT faced Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago at 8PM ET, four matches were played. The Fire had hosted the Dynamo on Friday night. At 4PM, Toronto hosted LA with its usual sellout. Kansas City also sold out for the visit of the reigning champs Columbus. The Rapids, without Conor Casey were at Rio Tinto for the next installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup. This match began with 1/2 hour left in the USA match but the draw of a David Archuletta concert gave the Lakers a sellout.

Third place Seattle came calling to the HDC to meet west leaders Chivas USA. This match began with 1/2 hour left in the Mexico match(which Mexico lost) and it showed at the gate. They had been averaging over 15,600 but only drew a little over 13,100.

FC Dallas hosted San Jose in a matchup of the two last place teams in the west. 5,724. Need I say more? Sell the team. Move the team. Sign Pele to play 2 minutes a game. Do anything!

The week ended with the Revs hosting the Red Bulls in a rare Sunday evening game and drew just under 11,200.

After week 12 the numbers look like this…

  5 year comparison
  WK 12 92 GP YTD
  Avg +/- GP Avg +/- Avg +/- GP
 2005   11,142     8   13,883     14,348     79 
 2006   12,309   10.48%   5   14,985   7.94%   15,169   5.73%   72 
 2007   13,600   10.48%   7   15,058   0.49%   15,324   1.02%   79 
 2008   18,426   35.48%   7   16,211   7.66%   16,595   8.30%   84 
 2009   13,148   -28.65%   8   14,731   -9.13%   14,731   -11.23%   92 

Here are the attendance comparisons to 2008’s equal number of home games(92):

MLS Attendance Averages – Equal # of Home Games
  2008 2009  
  Att Cap Att Att +/- GP % of Cap Cap
 Seattle  0   0.00%   29,468   NA  6   92.09%   32,000 
 Toronto  20,117   91.53%   20,267   0.75%   8   92.21%   21,978 
 LA Galaxy  24,834   91.98%   19,228   -22.57%   6   71.21%   27,000 
 Houston  16,704   74.24%   15,641   -6.36%   6   69.51%   22,500 
 Real Salt Lake  16,419   76.25%   15,449   -5.91%   6   79.88%   19,340 
 ChivasUSA  14,376   53.25%   15,312   6.51%   8   56.71%   27,000 
 D.C. United  18,651   82.89%   14,303   -23.31%   7   63.57%   22,500 
 Colorado Rapids  14,540   80.40%   12,410   -14.65%   4   68.61%   18,086 
 Columbus Crew  12,383   54.90%   12,369   -0.12%   5   54.84%   22,555 
 Chicago  16,440   82.20%   11,726   -28.67%   6   58.63%   20,000 
 NE Revolution  10,289   45.73%   11,511   11.88%   5   51.16%   22,500 
 N.Y./N.J. Red Bulls  13,525   53.69%   10,966   -18.92%   7   43.54%   25,189 
 San Jose  16,483   72.70%   10,882   -33.98%   6   88.23%   10,300 
 KC Wizards  9,602   92.46%   9,590   -0.12%   6   92.34%   10,385 
 FC Dallas  13,232   64.54%   8,801   -33.48%   6   42.93%   20,500 

YTD – 92 Games
  Average Median %<10K %>20k
 2005    13,883     11,828    32.61%   13.04% 
 2006    14,985     13,148    22.83%   15.22% 
 2007    15,058     14,226    13.04%   20.65% 
 2008    16,211     14,837    11.96%   27.17% 
 2009    14,731     13,736    16.30%   16.30% 

Capacity Disclaimer

Thanks to Don M. for pointing out that RSL’s Rio Tinto capacity will be reduced from 20,008 to 19,340 to make way for a concert stage.(Capacity Dips With New Concert Stage)

Mid Week

Atlantic Cup
The week started off with the first of 2 road games for RBNY. Rojas was with RBNY for the DCU game, not with national team as previously posted as Venezuela were training at high altitude with a split squad. Played on a wet field, both came out in 3-5-2 formations. Early on, United were able to go wide finding space behind RB’s midfield, putting the 3 at the back under pressure. But a nice play by Fred led to a Quaranta goal in the 36th minute. RBNY pressured DCU in the 2nd half. Josh Wicks stopped an Angel volley shot in the 86th, diving low to his right to get a hand on what looked like a sure game tying goal. Moreno added a PK goal in the 93rd to seal the game for DCU.

Friday night brought Houston to Chicago. In addition to missing the injured Brian Ching(on international duty), Houston were also missing late USMNT callup Ricardo Clark. Clark was also named to the Confederations Cup sqaud, with Ching being left off the squad going to South Africa. Houston, on a 7 game unbeaten string, took an early lead on a beautiful play with Stuart Holden netting for the Dynamo. The score held up as Onstad got his 7th clean sheet and Chicago’s league leading offense failed to score for the 2nd game in a row.

Chicago were playing without Blanco, Segares and Soumare, all on international duty. With Conde injured, 3/4 of the Fire’s backline were not on the pitch. Robinson, Prideaux and Brown took the pitch in their places, with Akinbiyi and Ashe stepping in for Houston.


The Galaxy got off to a fast start when they uncharacteristically scored an early goal in Toronto. Of their 13 goals scored coming into the game, only 1 had been scored in the first 15 minutes. But Danny Dichio scored in the 64th to pull TFC even. Then in the 77th, Buddle scored for the 2nd straight game as he blew past Marco Velez, who had also failed to mark Gordon in the box on the first goal, as Los Angeles snagged an impressive away win.

Columbus came calling to KC in a match that for some reason known only in some back office began at 8;30PM, just as the US was facing off against Honduras. The Crew continued its recovery from a terrible start to clean sheet the Wizards 2-0 on a brace from Schelotto, despite going down a man at the 51st minute. The Crew have now gone 8 games without a loss and pulled even on points with the Wizards and Toronto with 16 and a game in hand.

The visiting Rapids, sans Casey and Mastroenni, played RSL in the 2nd leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup. RSL were looking to end a 7 game winless streak(5 losses, including a US Open match), while Colorado hadn’t lost in 5. Yura Movsisyan broke the scoreless draw in the 79th minute on an excellent move beating 2 defenders. 3 minutes later RSL went down a man when Russell got his 2nd yellow. In the 88th minute Omar Cummings made a great turn on Borchers and beat Rimando with a super strike to pull the Rapids level, which is how the game ended.

Chivas USA, playing without Kljestan and Bornstein, took a 1-0 lead over Seattle in the latter stages of the first half on a Lillingston tally. Jaqua’s 2nd yellow late in the match dampened any chance that the Sounders might have of stealing a draw and in the end they took their 2nd loss in two matches with Chivas USA.

The Quakes came into the game 15th in goals against and 12th in goal scored. They were also without their center mid pairing of Corrales, out on yellow card accumulation and Elliot prepping with New Zealand for the Confederations Cup as well as newly acquired Cornell Glen, away with Trinidad & Tobago. Dallas isn’t much better at 14th and 10th in the same stats, but were on a 3 game unbeaten string. David Ferreira, on horrific marking in the box, gave the Hoops a 29th minute lead in the struggle between the west bottom feeders. An own goal on a free kick got San Jose even at the 60 minute mark. The goal occured while FCD were down a man as Sanchez was off-field with an injury. He was subsequently subbed out(or rather, wheeled out), but the damage had been done. Then in the 82nd minute, Alvarez was allowed to turn in the left side of the box and he blew one by Burse for a go-ahead goal. Just 5 minutes later Brek Shea laid a ball at Cooper’s feet and after deking Cannon, he put the ball in the open goal and earned FCD a draw.

The Red Bulls second road game of the week was against the Revs. New England scored in stoppage time at the end of the first half to take a 1-0 lead. It didn’t get any better as Ralston scored 7 minutes after the break and Taylor Twellman added his 100th and 101st career goals. The Bulls have still failed to score an offensive goal on the road and haven’t won on the road for 19 regular season matches.

End of Week First Thoughts

  • After a disastrous year of experimentation, DC United are back and appear poised to regain its position among the league elite. With veterans Gomez and Moreno, albeit in reduced roles, and youngsters Wallace and Pontius starting as rookies, DCU is just one point behind east leaders Chicago.
  • Dominic Kinnear just plain knows how to win in MLS.
  • So does Preki.
  • I’ve heard soccer pundits talk about how it takes around 10 games for teams to gel. Is that what’s happening with the Galaxy? After their win in Toronto, they sit one point out of the last playoff position. TFC is floundering, having lost more home games already than they did all of last year. By the way, have you heard the grumbling coming out of Toronto when it was learned that grass would be installed for TFC’s friendly with Real Madrid? The Spanish team wouldn’t play without the natural stuff.
  • The Crew seem to have straightened themselves out with a road victory against a Kansas City team that was looking to establish credibility as an threat in the east.
  • RSL’s Kreis receives owner’s full support. Is this the ‘kiss of death’ support?
  • Anyone wanna bet on the Red Bulls making the playoffs?
  • I didn’t think it could get worse in Dallas, attendance wise…. it did.

    Week 12 – International Duty

    Chicago: Gonzalo Segares(Costa Rica), Bakary Soumare(Mali), Blanco(Mexico)
    Chivas USA: Sasha Kljestan(USA), Jonathan Bornstein(USA)
    Colorado: Pablo Mastroenni(USA), Conor Casey(USA)
    Columbus: Frankie Hejduk(USA), Alejandro Moreno(Venezuela), Duncan Oughton(New Zealand)
    DC United: Avery John(Trinidad and Tobago)
    Houston: Brian Ching(USA), Ricardo Clark(USA)
    Kansas City: Roger Espinoza(Honduras)
    LA: Landon Donovan(USA)
    Red Bulls: Alfredo Pacheco(El Salvador), Jorge Rojas(Venezuela), Andrew Boyens(New Zealand)
    San Jose: Cornell Glen(Trinidad and Tobago), Simon Elliott(New Zealand)
    Seattle: Smith(New Zealand)
    TFC: Marvelle Wynne(USA), Amado Guevara(Honduras)

    All of the players listed have, or will miss at least one club match. Some will miss more with the Confederations Cup starting and later another group will be away during the Gold Cup.

    Did I miss anyone?


    Toronto missed a golden opportunity to sew up a berth in the 2009-2010 CONCACAF Champions League. They needed just a draw on their visit to USL-1 Vancouver to win the Nutrilite Championship, the Canadian qualifying tourney for the CCL. But Vancouver stung TFC 2-0 and now they have a mountain to climb to qualify.


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