As the MLS season begins to wind down, a few locations in the attendance arena show some real patterns compared to years past. Nowhere is this more a fact than in New York. The Red Bulls may have 3 designated players in Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Tim Cahill, but big bucks and a shiny, recently-built stadium haven't translated into the filled arenas seen in Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Houston.
New York's deficit compared to last year now stands at almost 3000 seats. This is after a considerable positive jump in the past two years following the completion of RBA and the signing of Henry and Marquez. So what is it? Quality on the pitch? Hardly, in my opinion. Accessibility of venue? Nope. Style of play? Maybe. New direction for team? Perhaps. We will see after this season is complete. Maybe New York needs the other New York team to start playing.
Another sore spot for MLS these days is Toronto FC. The once-gleaming venue for full stadiums and ardent fans, has now run into its 6th year of mediocrity. The team has yet to make it into the playoffs and the fans have begun to notice. What was once 100% attendance has since become 80%. The same fate could be in hand for the Timbers if they are unable to capitalize on a dedicated fan base.