After the regular season finale on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid and majority owner Joe Roth addressed the remaining crowd after a long, often arduous campaign put Seattle in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
The general theme of both coach and owner was that the club owes a lot to its record-setting fans, who on Sunday surpassed the MLS attendance record for the fifth consecutive year when the crowd of 66,216 brought the 2013 season average to 44,038.
That surpassed the club’s mark in 2012 of 43,144 and is over 15,000 higher than the record prior to Sounders FC’s inaugural season in 2009.
That crowd offers a tremendous home-field advantage for Seattle, who is 45-16-20 all-time at home and 8-0-3 when attendance exceeds 40,000 for a match. Schmid and the Sounders hope that same advantage holds in the MLS Cup playoffs, starting Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids in the Knockout Round.
“It is fantastic to look at our crowd and setting an attendance record for the fifth year in a row,” Schmid said. “I don’t think people understand how much work the front office puts in and that’s a reflection on the entire organization. Just like the sporting side—being able to make the playoffs five years in a row is not all that common in this league. Every team sometimes, when it slips up and doesn’t make the playoffs, gets some allocation money it’s easier to rebuild and get yourself back up there, but to stay in there year-in and year-out is a difficult task. The sporting side has done that well but our fans, and what they do in our front office here to get the fans out here, and the experience they have in the stadium will continue to be a solid one and we will continue to put everything we can every time we play for them.”
The crowd on Sunday was the third-largest for a Sounders FC home match and fourth-largest stand-alone crowd in league history. It was the eighth time that attendance had exceeded 50,000 for a match and fourth time that mark was surpassed this season.
Top-10 All-Time MLS Season Attendance Averages
2013 Sounders FC 44,038
2012 Sounders FC 43,144
2011 Sounders FC 38,498
2010 Sounders FC 36,173
2009 Sounders FC 30,897
1996 LA Galaxy 28,916
2008 LA Galaxy 26,009
2007 LA Galaxy 24,252
2005 LA Galaxy 24,204
1996 MetroStars 23,898