It was a big weekend on the MLS attendance front, as new records were set in both Minnesota and Atlanta.
Week 34 of the 2018 MLS season was a strong one overall for attendance, and it was highlighted by two unique milestones. Minnesota United FC drew 52,242 fans to its Sunday match against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The game was notable in that it is scheduled to be the club’s final home match at TCF Bank Stadium, where it has spent the past two seasons while awaiting the completion of the new soccer-specific Allianz Field in St. Paul for the 2019 season.
The TCF Bank Stadium finale was marked by a good crowd, as United’s attendance figure broke a long-standing state record for highest attendance at a pro soccer game. More from the Star Tribune:
Minnesota United FC bade farewell to TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon and aimed toward a new era with Sunday’s record-setting 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in its home finale.
The announced attendance of 52,242 tickets sold surpassed the state’s single-game record for a home team, the 49,572 fans who watched a 1976 Minnesota Kicks game against San Jose in the North American Soccer League.
Fans arrived as much as four hours early on a sunny, brilliantly blue afternoon to partake in free tomato soup, pumpkin cobbler and apple cider in a “fan zone” outside the stadium that also offered face painting and stocking cap giveaways….
“Our supporters have been magnificent,” coach Adrian Heath said of the gatherings at TCF Bank Stadium. “I can’t thank them enough. I’m just disappointed we can’t give them a performance that warranted the level of support we had. This has been a good home for us.”
Down in Atlanta, Atlanta United FC drew another large crowd to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Sunday’s match against the Chicago Fire was witnessed by a reported total of 71,812 fans, allowing Atlanta to set the MLS single-season total attendance record with 901,033 fans. In addition, Atlanta set a new per-game average attendance mark of 53,002. More from the AP:
Atlanta United scored two first-half goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday, setting another Major League Soccer attendance record and securing a spot in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.
But United’s main objective, the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular-season record in MLS, will go down to the final week of the regular season. New York Red Bulls remained one point behind the Five Stripes with a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia.
United improved to 21-6-6 for 69 points, tying the MLS points record set last season by Toronto FC. The Atlanta club will get a chance to break the mark when it faces the Canadian team next Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Atlanta drew its seventh 70,000-plus crowd of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, finishing with a total of 901,033 fans for a per-game average of 53,002. That easily eclipsed the mark of 48,200 that was set in its inaugural season.
The broken records in both Minnesota and Atlanta were the highlights, but it was a good week across the board for MLS, as figures for Week 34 were among the highest for the season. Our new attendance report takes a closer look at those numbers.
RELATED STORIES: One Last Hurrah for Minnesota United at TCF Bank Stadium