In the 2023 MLS season, the Los Angeles Galaxy and LAFC played at the Rose Bowl in front of 82,110 spectators. That set the record as the biggest crowd for an MLS game in history. With the two meeting at the hallowed stadium again this July, MLS commissioner Don Garber expects an equally immense crowd at the Rose Bowl. Therefore, he sees a potential record for single-game attendance in MLS.

Speaking to World Soccer Talk and fellow reporters in Germany this past weekend, Garber said he expects another massive crowd at the Rose Bowl. With both clubs off to decent starts in the 2024 season, there is added intrigue for this game compared to the one from last year.

“For July 4th, the LA Galaxy and LAFC will play at the Rose Bowl,” Garber said “We’re forecasting 82,000. It’ll be one of the largest games ever. An official MLS game, not a friendly.”

Garber appears to be prodding at the schedule of summer friendlies in the United States this summer. Many European teams are coming to the United States to play games at some of the nation’s massive venues. Those games have no consequence as they are just friendlies and warm-up games before the season. Yet, many of them still have larger crowds than MLS games.

Those looking to attend this potentially record-setting game can get tickets from Vivid Seats. Rest assured with a 100% buyer’s guarantee, and World Soccer Talk readers get $20 off their first order (using promo code SOCCER20 at checkout).

MLS record attendance has been challenged this season with Messi

Garber also mentioned how massive Messi has been for MLS attendance this season. In its last two away days, Inter Miami drew some of the biggest crowds in MLS this season. In Kansas City, Inter Miami, and Lionel Messi brought in the biggest soccer crowd in Missouri history. Then, this past weekend, the New England Revolution set a record for attendance in the club’s history.

Even though the current record for attendance in MLS history happened before Messi arrived, Garber said the attendance has certainly helped with the Argentine in the fold.

“So we were doing pretty well before we had the greatest player of all time. But Leo [Messi] has just taken it to a level that’s really empowering and exciting. Kansas City had 72,000 people. That was the third-largest attendance we’ve ever had.”

If all goes to plan, EL Trafico on July 4 will top the list. That will make the two games at the Rose Bowl the most attended games in MLS history.

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Looking at other MLS games with big attendance figures

The current runner-up for biggest MLS attendance in one game was also a special occasion. Charlotte FC’s first game in MLS in 2022 pulled 74,479 fans to Bank of America Stadium. Then, the Messi game at Arrowhead Stadium ranks third.

Interestingly, the other seven games in the top 10 come from one team. Atlanta United games from 2018, the season the side won MLS Cup, feature five times in the list of the top 10. That shows two things. One, Atlanta United has a great fan base. Two, MLS teams have the potential to sell seats at NFL stadiums. Whether it be Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Bank of America Stadium or the Rose Bowl, MLS has the potential to draw major crowds.