Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 32


The final regular season numbers look like this…

5 year comparison
  Final Week YTD
   Avg  +/-  GP  Avg  +/-  GP
 2005   18,417     6   15,108     192 
 2006   20,277   10.10%   6   15,504   2.62%   192 
 2007   20,575   1.47%   7   16,770   8.17%   195 
 2008   17,338   -15.73%   7   16,460   -1.85%   210 
 2009   19,916   14.87%   8   16,037   -2.57%   225 

YTD – Games
  Average Median %<10K %>20k
 2005    15,108     12,619    27.08%   17.71% 
 2006    15,504     14,175    18.75%   18.75% 
 2007    16,770     15,353    8.21%   29.74% 
 2008    16,460     15,188    10.95%   24.76% 
 2009    16,037     14,686    14.67%   20.44% 

Here are the attendance comparisons to 2008’s full season of home games(210 v 225 games):

MLS Attendance – Equal # of Home Games
  2008 2009  
  Att Cap Att Att +/- GP Cap Cap
 Seattle  0   0.00%   30,897   NA  15   95.36%   32,400 
 LA Galaxy  26,009   96.33%   20,416   -21.50%   15   75.61%   27,000 
 Toronto  20,110   91.50%   20,344   1.17%   15   92.57%   21,978 
 Houston  16,939   75.28%   17,047   0.64%   15   75.77%   22,500 
 Real Salt Lake  16,179   80.03%   16,375   1.21%   15   77.79%   19,340 
 D.C. United  19,835   88.16%   16,088   -18.89%   15   71.50%   22,500 
 ChivasUSA  15,114   55.98%   15,092   -0.15%   15   55.90%   27,000 
 Chicago  17,034   85.17%   14,689   -13.77%   15   73.44%   20,000 
 Columbus Crew  14,622   73.11%   14,447   -1.20%   15   72.23%   20,000 
 San Jose  13,713   89.93%   14,114   2.93%   15   79.64%   10,300 
 NE Revolution  17,580   78.14%   13,732   -21.89%   15   61.03%   22,500 
 N.Y./N.J. Red Bulls  15,928   63.24%   12,491   -21.58%   15   49.59%   25,189 
 FC Dallas  13,024   61.45%   12,441   -4.48%   15   53.67%   21,193 
 Colorado Rapids  13,659   75.52%   12,331   -9.72%   15   68.18%   18,086 
 KC Wizards  10,686   102.90%   10,053   -5.92%   15   96.81%   10,385 

My disclaimer about the capacity calculations – Additional disclaimer note: I factored in the Dallas game at the Cotton Bowl as 100% capacity of 51,012.


The last week of the season drew a strong 19,916. A great crowd of over 17,500 braved cold and rain in Chicago. The last game played at Giants Stadium by the Red Bulls pulled in more than 21,000, also on a rainy night. The Wizards sold out their last game of the year. The playoff critical match in Salt Lake was seen by over 18,300. Seattle closed out the season with the largest crowd of the year, over 33,100. A full house at the Home Depot Center witnessed the Galaxy complete its run to first in the west while Chivas USA pulled in over 14,500 for its season ender. More than 16,700 Crew fans showed their support for the regular season champs.

It appears as though MLS has weathered the economy up until now. Average attendance was down only 2.57% compared to 2008. In comparison, the recently ended Major League Baseball season saw a 6.67% drop in average attendance. In absolute numbers, given the extra team(Seattle) and the 15 extra games, attendance was up 151,278. More analysis of this past season will be examined during the off season, including looking at how the NFL, NBA and NHL fare.

Week 32 Games
Chicago 1 Chicago Fire Confidential
Chivas USA 0 Chivas USA – MLSNet
RBNY 5 Red Bulls Reader
Toronto 0 TFC Connected
Kansas City 2 Kansas City – Hillcrest Road
DC United 2 DCU – Steve Goff – Soccer Insider
Real Salt Lake 3 RSL – Behind the Shield
Colorado 0 Undercurrent
Seattle 2 Seattle Times
FC Dallas 1 3rd Degree – Buzz Carrick
Los Angeles 2 LA – Official Blog
San Jose 0 San Jose Center Line Soccer
Chivas USA 2 Chivas USA – MLSNet
Houston 3 Soccer y Fútbol – Barnard Fallas
Columbus 0 Columbus Dispatch – Crew XTra
New England 1 Revolution Soccer

So How Did They Finish?

Points after 225 Games
  Pts GP  PPG GD
 Columbus  49   30   1.63   10 
 Los Angeles  48   30   1.60   5 
 Houston  48   30   1.60   10 
 Seattle  47   30   1.57   9 
 Chicago  45   30   1.50   5 
 Chivas USA  45   30   1.50   3 
 New England  42   30   1.40   -4 
 Real Salt Lake  40   30   1.33   8 
 Colorado  40   30   1.33   4 
 DC United  40   30   1.33   -1 
 Dallas  39   30   1.30   3 
 Toronto FC  39   30   1.30   -9 
 Kansas City  33   30   1.10   -9 
 San Jose  30   30   1.00   -14 
 NY Red Bull  21   30   0.70   -20 

MLS Playoff Matchups – Los Angeles v Chivas USA, Houston v Seattle, Columbus v RSL, Chicago v NE

What a great finish to the season. Dozens of permutations were possible for the final 3 playoff slots. Eduardo Lillingston’s own goal put the Fire into the playoffs and ended Chivas USA’s hope for the Supporters’ Shield. As a result, Columbus claimed its 2nd consecutive Shield and a berth in the next CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto looked to be in good shape with a final match at the heretofore hapless Red Bulls, only to get destroyed 5-0. DCU also looked to have the advantage playing against a demoralized KC but played to a draw. The marquee matchup of the week was RSL v Colorado. The Rapids controlled their own destiny while the Lakers were in the worst position heading into the week. So of course RSL pulled out the victory and with the other contenders help ended up making it into the big dance. The miracle run of Dallas came up just short as expansion Seattle finished on a high note with a win at home. Los Angeles completed its worst to first(in the west) season. This will be David Beckham’s first taste of MLS playoffs.

Three teams that didn’t make it to the party have only themselves to blame. Colorado were winless in their last 7. KC were winless in their last 5 and DCU won 1 of its last 5. After winning 22 straight regular season games at home Columbus lost its last two home games of the season. The last one, though was meaningless to their final position.

For more on the just ended season, read Eric Altshule’s post.


  • FC Dallas did not lose at home in its last 8(7 wins).
  • RBNY finished winless on the road(27 total).
  • TFC did not lose at home in 7 straight.
  • TFC did not win on the road in 8 straight.
  • Colorado did not win on the road in 9 straight.
  • RSL was unbeaten in their last 10 home games.

MLS Throw Ins

  • No team won 50% of its games.
  • Not surprisingly, Seattle set an MLS single season attendance record.
  • In 15 more games, 22 fewer goals were scored than in 2008(2.53 per game vs 2.81).
  • The Kansas City, Houston and San Jose prospective stadiums is a story to watch this off season.
  • Jeff Cunningham won his 2nd Golden Boot as the top regular season goal scorer.

    MLS In CONCACAF Champions League

    Another poor showing by MLS in the CCL. Houston was the biggest disappointment. Needing a victory in its final group play match, they travelled to Metapan(SLV), which had been winless with a -17 goal differential only to lose and be eliminated. DC United put up a good showing on the road at Toluca(MEX), earning a draw, albeit against a ‘B’ team, but were also eliminated. They just couldn’t recover from their poor start. Columbus barely got into the knockout phase as Saprissa(CRC) lost at home to Cruz Azul(MEX) while the Crew were tied by Puerto Rico who failed to win any of its 6 group play matches.

    Howard Hamilton of the HexagonalBlog has updated his CONCACAF coefficients which reflect Mexican club dominance in the region.

    The quarterfinal home and home matches will be played on March 9 and 16, 2010.

  • 8 thoughts on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 32”

    1. Nice post but a couple of things….

      In the CCL if you are going to call Toluca’s “B” team then it was also DCUs “B” team(No Olsen, Moreno, Namoff, Quaranta, Wicks, etc…, Jakovic subbed on in the 2nd half). In my personal opinion I think that it is silly to say “B” or “A” teams as all these teams in this tournament play different lineups every week as they have to with games every 3-4 days.

      Also why I agree that Houston laid an egg against Metapan it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that they would win as they only beat them 1-0 at home so perhaps Metapan matched up with them well like Aribe Unido must have matched up against Pachuca well as they beat them in aggregate over the 2 games.

    2. A small point: Rio Tinto Stadium capacity is 20,008. It was down for a few games this season when a temporary stage took the place of some of the south stand seats, but it’s back up to 20k now.

    3. Lee,

      Yes, it’s sometimes not exactly correct to label a team ‘A’ or ‘B’, but in the case of DC, Namoff and Quaranta were hurt, so not an option. To me that means the ‘A’ team for DC would not include them. In any case, I think we can agree that MLS roster restrictions create major problems when a team plays in tourneys.
      Good point about the matchups.

      ta mere:

      Thanks for the update. I thought the stage was a permanent change. Will keep my eyes open for next year’s capacity.

    4. Dynamo’s performance made me sick. When you consider the entire last several months, the Dynamo are the worst I have seen them in their history. Defensive lapses and boring play with little energy.

    5. Kartik,
      perhaps you should have a “Strictly MLS Attendance” sheet that excludes friendlies with international clubs (SJ minus Barca vs. Chivas, or Dal minus Mex.vs Col) to give a sense of what the real draw of MLS is.

      1. Vic,
        What is it you are looking for? The numbers posted are direct from MLSnet. They do not include friendlies unless the match was part of a doubleheader with an MLS match, in which case MLS does not segregate the numbers. The attendees to those doubleheaders saw two games for one ticket. As far as I am aware, that has been MLS’s attendance reporting policy since its inception.

        Out of curiosity, why address the question to Kartik? He didn’t write the post.

    6. To nitpick: Seattle should be “100%” since the capacity fluctuated due to demand. To pick the end of year number, and compare them all statically is improper. They sold out every match.

      1. Mat,

        Yeah, Seattle kept changing their capacity and the weekly attendance reported was never the same, unlike in other stadiums where a sold out number matched their reported capacity.
        I just used the posted soccer capacity of Qwest and let the numbers fall where they may. Kind of impossible to calculate 100% under those circumstances.

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