Independence Day marked another groundbreaking moment for the growth of soccer in the United States.
On July 4, 2023, LAFC and LA Galaxy played 90 minutes in front of a jaw-dropping crowd of 82,110 fans at the Rose Bowl. That’s right, a new MLS attendance record was set, and just one season after the previous record was unseated by newcomer Charlotte FC.
It’s only fitting that the new record was cemented by one of the most historic clubs of the MLS and one of the hottest clubs of the MLS.
For decades, LA Galaxy has played a central role in so many of U.S. soccer’s major events. And now, LAFC is setting a new standard for supporter culture and matchday atmosphere. One of the hottest tickets in all of MLS is an LAFC home game, and their supporters section is unmatched. It even rivals many of the age-old clubs in Europe.
The choice of the Rose Bowl as the venue also added to the magic of the occasion. This iconic stadium hosted the 1999 Women’s World Cup final and the 1994 Men’s World Cup final, both of which drew over 90,000 supporters.
So is this a model that could be replicated in other cities across the country? Neutral-site matches have had mixed results over the years in Major League Soccer. Early on, championship games that were hosted at neutral sites had a hard time filling stadiums. But now we’re looking at the prospect of Messi coming to the league and the growth of rivalries based on proximity.
Certainly we’re far off from this becoming the norm, and Los Angeles has certain characteristics that few others can replicate, but as the league continues to grow, we could easily see a change. State-based rivals like Columbus and Cincinnati, or Orland and Miami, are just two examples of clubs ripe to sell out even bigger venues.