KICKING IT INTO GEAR; THIRD MLS SEASON UNDERWAY
MLS had a full schedule of games over the weekend as
its third season opened league-wide. An announced crowd of
36,281 attended the Clash-Galaxy game at the Rose Bowl, top
among the league's weekend gate (THE DAILY). A crowd of
18,108 attended DC United's home opener Saturday night
against the Wizards at RFK Stadium. In DC, Steven Goff
reported that "miserable weather certainly was a factor" in
the team's smallest opening night crowd in its three-year
history, and that it was "apparent that many fans from the
Latin American community, angered by the trade of Salvadoran
star Raul Diaz Arce, did not show." DC United drew 35,0032
for their home opener in '96 and 28,749 last season
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/23). The Fusion drew 14,653 Saturday
night at Lockhart Stadium for their game versus the Fire. It
was the Fire's inaugural MLS game (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/22).
In Ft. Lauderdale, Michael Mayo said that the Fusion's
"novelty factor has faded" in its second game, and that some
of the announced crowd was "lured by a Ziggy Marley concert
after the game" (SUN-SENTINEL, 3/22). In Tampa, the Mutiny
drew 16,221 for their opener against the Crew at Houlihan's
Stadium (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/22). The Burn drew 11,103 against
the Rapids at the Cotton Bowl (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/22).
MLS FACES TESTS: In N.Y., George Vecsey profiled MLS
Commissioner Doug Logan, and wrote Logan is "talking up the
concept of his league's being No. 4 1/2 among major sports.
He would like his league to feel like the sport of the
people." Vecsey: "We could use one of those, what with the
four established leagues rapidly becoming dominated by
conglomerations, aiming at corporate clients." Logan: "The
biggest piece of garbage in American sports is the luxury
box, with it couches faced away from the field, facing a
huge color television set, with everybody eating sushi."
Logan said MLS's "four separate groups" of fans include the
purists, kids who play soccer, Hispanics and the general
sports fan, "the guy who reads his newspaper back to front,
the baseball fan who is tired of the players. That's our
largest work in progress" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/22).