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MLS Sets Attendance Record Amid Wave of Growth

  • Latest installment of El Tráfico easily beats prior mark
  • Historic fan turnout extends run of achievements by the league
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The ongoing growth of pro soccer in the U.S. has hit another major milestone.

MLS’s Los Angeles rivalry of the L.A. Galaxy and reigning league champion LAFC drew 82,110 on Tuesday at the Rose Bowl, setting a single-game league attendance record. The total easily surpassed the 74,479 Charlotte FC attracted in March 2022 for its first-ever game as a league expansion franchise, and was widely described as a playoff-type atmosphere.

The L.A. game — widely known as El Tráfico in a nod to the famous Spanish El Clásico rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid — was rescheduled from February due to heavy rain and wind at the time in Southern California.

Regardless of specific timing, the attendance figure represents another important step in MLS’ push to become a larger and more significant entity.

The total follows other recent achievements for MLS such as Lionel Messi’s historic move to Inter Miami, the groundbreaking streaming deal with Apple, an enlarged postseason, forthcoming expansion to San Diego, rising franchise values, and unprecedented fan reception for the new St. Louis City FC club.

“When you have 80,000 people and the energy in that type of stadium is around you … it comes with the sense of something much bigger than maybe just a normal match day,” said Greg Vanney, head coach and sporting director for the Galaxy, which defeated LAFC 2-1.

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