Editorial (November 5, 2018) — On a frigidly cold day, fans of Columbus Crew SC gathered their game-day necessities prior to their home leg fixture against the New York Red Bulls. Would the attendance prove that this could be sold-out?
As an intern, I’m there approximately four hours prior to kickoff.
Handing out roster cards to fans of every sort at a gate, there was a feeling that there was a good crowd. Groups of four or more walked my way and a warm feeling gathered inside my heart.
However, that was not the case in this crucial match.
Attendance Headlines Columbus Crew SC’s 1-0 Win Over New York Red Bulls
Sitting in the upper deck on the West side of MAPFRE Stadium, looking left and right there were no empty seats. Doing the same as I looked across to the east and the Nordecke. It was honestly a great turnout.
But neutrals only saw what ESPN showed on television. A majority of empty sideline club seats and that’s where the attendance talks from Portland Timbers owner Merrit Paulson and other fans decide to talk about.
For some apparent reason, the announced attendance was close to 13k people.
Fans on Twitter expressed their feelings by mentioning ticket scanners gave up on scanning most of the tickets.
MLS playoffs, announced attendance:
Real Salt Lake 14,045
USL conference finals:
Orange County 5,189*
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) November 5, 2018
At least close to 16k would have been more appropriate, but MLS skews its numbers so bad.
For example, in the match between Crew SC and Orlando City SC towards the end of the regular season, an announced 20,000 attendance was set when about 90 percent of the stadium were seats.
Goalkeeper Jon Kempin had his doubts.
— Jon Kempin #24 (@JonKempin21) November 5, 2018
As mentioned before, Merritt Paulson displayed his side on the attendance, saying “There is ZERO excuse. Its a friggin playoff game.” That tweet has since been deleted.
Well first off, the correct grammar is ‘it’s.’
But Paulson did mention the tweet he responded to.
I responded to a tweet agreeing that Crew should be held to same standard as any club on playoff attendance.
Characterize that as you want but probably best not to touch that topic w a 10 ft pole so bad on me. Too east to take sensitive topics out of context
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) November 5, 2018
Why Was This The Headline for Leg 1?
This was the headline for the first leg of this series because it’s a topic that the league has yet to address. For outsiders looking on TV, they are getting a fabricated story that a team has less than what people see in real time.
It’s easy to be a follower and not a leader, but in this case, it’s easier to go with the latter than to actually buy a ticket to experience it yourself.
It’s almost guaranteed that this was not the topic during Crew SC’s 2015 MLS Cup run.
So why start now, when there are other teams that can be looked at and the same thing can be said for them? Why is it always Columbus?
As mentioned before, there were a lot more than just 13k people in the stands. But when you have league owners on your side that are willing to make one team look bad to give Anthony Precourt the narrative he wrote to relocate the first club in the league, I guess you can do whatever you want, right?
The second leg of this series is Sunday at 7:30 pm EST from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Columbus currently leads 1-0 on aggregate.