The LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls played a tension-filled slugfest of an MLS playoff match on Sunday, complete with shining moments for most of the stars involved and post-game brouhaha that has much of the American soccer public talking (or, more accurately, bashing Rafa Marquez). The second leg of the series is set for Thursday night in LA and promises to be a cracker. It’s too bad, then, that the stadium will be half-filled and fans on the East Coast will have to sacrifice their health to see it.
Because of a long-standing agreement with California State University, Dominguez Hills, on whose campus the Galaxy’s Home Depot Center stadium sits, midweek matches during the school year are limited to a capacity of 15,000. As the Home Depot Center has an actual capacity of 27,000, that means the crowd for the Galaxy-Red Bulls clash will be at least 44% smaller than it would on a Saturday, and have plenty of those atmosphere-sapping empty seats the MLS playoffs have been rife with to this point. Even the best team in the league won’t be able to fill their place for a playoff game.
Not good, not fun, and not what the Galaxy would prefer, surely.
So tickets might be hard to come by for Angelinos anxious to see Henry and Marquez (whoops) face off against Beckham, Donovan, and Keane. But if they do manage to secure a seat, at least they’ll be home and in bed at a reasonably decent hour, excusing the possibility of extra time (and LA traffic). MLS fans watching on the East Coast will have to give up precious sleep to see the game through, with kick off at 8 PM PDT/11 PM EDT. Put on a pot of coffee, the MLS playoffs are on.
Are the MLS playoffs enough of a draw to keep interested viewers on the right side of the country up until the wee hours of the morning on school night?