Major League Soccer franchise Atlanta United smashed the league’s single-game attendance record on Saturday at its newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The game against Orlando City drew in 70,425 football supporters, which is almost the full 71,000-capacity of the stadium. This season, Atlanta United was already averaging around 46,000-fans per game, putting it well on its way to overtaking Seattle Sounders’ 2015 average attendance record of 44,247.
Los Angeles Galaxy set the previous MLS record when it saw 69,225 people watch its game at the Rose Bowl in 1996.
Outside of the MLS, North American Soccer League club the New York Cosmos set the benchmark of 47,856 in 1978.
“It was spectacular, what an unbelievable atmosphere,” said Orlando City SC manager Jason Kreis after the match. “It’s always a pleasure to be a part of games like that.”
“To have a crowd here tonight like we did, another benchmark to say, ‘This is what the league can be,’ I am really pleased to have been part of it.”
The 71,000-capacity venue, which is also home to NFL American football team the Atlanta Falcons, opened its doors on August 26 for a Falcons pre-season home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Brad Guzan, Atlanta United goalkeeper who is now on his second stint in MLS after leaving the league for England in 2008, said: “I think it means the league is growing. It means soccer down here is definitely huge and popular which is good for us.”
Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, said: “We’ve been in the soccer business a long time and we’re continuing to have experiences like this that are defying everybody’s expectations. This is the beginning of even greater things to happen in our league.”
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