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MLS KICKS OFF SECOND SEASON TO SMALLER CROWDS THAN LAST YEAR
Published April 1, 1997
MLS opened its second season with lower attendance and goal scoring, but also with "higher-quality play," according to Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES. Longman notes that this year, MLS "will have to survive on the caliber of its play, not the novelty of its existence" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1). Attendance for six matches this season has averaged 21,272, "considerably behind" the 33,598 for a similar period last year, but ahead of MLS Commissioner Doug Logan's 20,000 projection for the season. Logan called Kansas City "a little soft," noting the Wizards' opening game attendance of 10,196 (Jerry Langdon, USA TODAY, 3/31). In Boston, the GLOBE's Frank Dell'Apa: "Major League Soccer's novelty effect appears to have subsided judging by attendance, which was mostly unimpressive during the first week of the season. ... Now, substance is becoming the criteria to attract fans and maintain credibility" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/1). But the GLOBE's Will McDonough, on an expected crowd of 54,000 for a World Cup qualifier/MLS doubleheader on April 20 at Foxboro: "It's hard to believe how soccer interest has developed here in such a short time" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29). In L.A., the Galaxy-United game drew 53,147 (L.A. TIMES, 3/30).