Portland Thorns Coach Blasts K.C. Venue, Calls For Strict NWSL Standards
NWSL Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley said FC Kansas City's home venue, Durwood Stadium on the Univ. of Missouri-K.C.'s campus, presents "terrible conditions for the players," according to Graham Hays of ESPNW.com. Durwood is the second home for the FC Kansas City in as many seasons, and the team "sacrificed a significant amount of capacity" as the venue only holds 3,000 fans. The Thorns played FC Kansas City in the NWSL semfinals on Saturday, and Riley said, "To bring in, I think, 14 national team players and have them play in conditions like this for a semifinal doesn't make sense. I think at some point the league's got to step in and say 'You need requirements, and these are the requirements if you want to host a game.'" Riley added, "The requirements should be an attendance level, whether it be 8,000, whether it be 10,000. It should be proper seating. It should be proper stadium facilities. ... It's a semifinal, and it looks like nobody is here, I'm sure, from the TV perspective. How are you selling the league when it looks like nobody is at the game? How do you sell a league when it doesn't look like there's any sponsors? How do you sell a league when, you know, people look at it and say 'Oh, it's not that good.' When you see Portland is 18,000, you want to get involved in this league. The fans are behind us. ... It's just something we have to do as a league" (ESPNW.com, 8/23). In Portland, Jamie Goldberg noted Riley "was most critical about the lack of attendance at the nationally televised game," as the playoff game drew only 2,997 fans. The Thorns "regularly draw over 13,000 fans" to Providence Park (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/24).