TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League’s outstanding attendance figures in the 2017 Regular Season broke a new barrier over the past week as the USL recorded the four highest attendances outside Major League Soccer. Led by the league’s independent clubs, which averaged a record crowd of 8,331 across eight games, the USL averaged more than 6,000 fans per game for the week for the first time in the league’s history.
More than 70,000 fans saw the 12 league contests in Week 13 of the season, surpassing the previous record average of 5,918 in Week 5 earlier this year. The USL has now posted 18 sellout crowds this season, matching its total from the same point a season ago, and has seen its average attendance rise by 27 percent through 13 weeks.
FC Cincinnati continued to feature prominently with a crowd of 21,074 for its thrilling 2-2 draw against the Charleston Battery on Saturday night. The crowd added to a stellar week for FCC, which also welcomed more than 30,000 fans for its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory against Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday night.
Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
Additionally, Sacramento Republic FC recorded a sellout crowd of 11,569 fans in a 2-1 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, while both Louisville City FC and Rio Grande Valley FC posted attendances of more than 8,500 fans. The Toros’ attendance of 8,656 was their highest regular-season attendance to date at the newly-opened H-E-B Park, surpassed only by their sellout crowd in the venue’s inaugural game against Liga MX’s Monterrey in March. The Charlotte Independence also welcomed a sellout crowd to the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday night as the club opened its new home with a 2-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
The USL also saw another pair of goals garner national attention, with both San Antonio FC’s Kris Tyrpak (Saturday) and FC Cincinnati’s Andrew Wiedeman (Sunday) earn a place on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 for their excellent finishes in Saturday’s action. USL players have now earned a place in the Top 10 on six different occasions this year, by far the most in the league’s history, as the league’s profile in the North American sporting landscape continues to rise.