SBD/November 1, 2013/Franchises

Trick Or Treat: Dynamo Draws Only 10,476 For Playoff Win At BBVA Compass Stadium

BBVA Compass Stadium was less than half full for the Dynamo-Impact game
The MLS Dynamo on Thursday defeated the Impact in an MLS Cup Eastern Conference Knockout Round playoff game in front of a "stunningly small crowd of 10,476," leaving BBVA Compass Stadium "more than half empty," according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said, "I want to give praise to the people who showed up tonight to watch this game. I'm sure there'll be 20,000 more that said they were here along the way. I want to thank the fans who showed up." Ortiz notes the small crowd "makes it clear that Houston still has a long way to go as a soccer town." The empty seats at the 22,039-capacity stadium "gave soccer critics in town more ammunition, but the Dynamo performance was a great example of the best of MLS" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/1). Ortiz wrote there was "absolutely no excuse for such miserable attendance" for the game. Even the announced attendance "appeared to be inflated." Ortiz wrote the next time a fan "whines about soccer coverage or tries to compare MLS" to MLB, the Texans or the Rockets, "show them a picture of empty BBVA Compass Stadium." Ortiz: "Don’t call Houston a soccer town if they cannot sell out a playoff game. Ever" (CHRON.com, 10/31).

CROWDED FIELD: In Portland, Jamie Goldberg notes since MLS is "taking a full two weeks off in the middle of the playoffs to accommodate FIFA games, all four teams that make the conference finals will have to play a game on short rest." Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said, "It’s not ideal. Having to spread out the playoffs is not ideal from a playing or a marketing standpoint. It’s the way it is, and the teams have to deal with it best they can." Goldberg notes while MLS "attempted to create a competitively balanced playoff schedule, the league had to take into account field availability and TV contracts when setting the schedule." MLS had to schedule Timbers-Sounders for Saturday because the Seahawks "have a game on Sunday" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/1). Meanwhile, Sounders GM & minority Owner Adrian Hanauer Thursday noted NFL lines will be on the CenturyLink Field surface for Saturday's game and said fans "should be prepared for a football field pretending to be a soccer field." Hanauer: "It’s the unfortunate reality of a two-professional-team stadium with the timing. ... We're not happy about it, but we’re going to have to make the most of it." He added, "The only way around it is creating massive risk for a nationally televised NFL game. Again, in the weighed risk, I understand why this is where we’re at with this solution" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 10/31).
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