The playoffs finally have a little time to breathe, a.k.a. “something different” after the hurry-hurry-hurry of the initial two weeks of Major League Soccer’s post-season.
The most significant effect from a competitive standpoint, of course, is additional rest for the weary. Houston and Los Angeles played four matches over 12 days; Seattle and D.C. United have been stretched to, although to a slightly lesser extent. Either way that’s a fairly ridiculous haul, one bordering on unnecessarily dangerous for the athletes, especially considering that it’s late in the year, when injuries are piling up anyway.
So a full week between matches in these ongoing conference finals will provide some needed relief for everyone.
And there is a significant net-out for the front office staffs, too.
There’s actually a little time to sell these matches. All things considered, attendance has been solid through the MLS playoffs, even though tiny sell windows were challenging in places like Los Angeles and Houston.
Not so with the coming matches, apparently. United officials say they have already sold 17,000 seats for Sunday’s return leg against Houston at RFK Stadium.
A D.C. United spokesperson told me via email this morning there are no plans to expand beyond the lower bowl capacity of 19,647. Given that the club is just 2,000 and change short of that already, we’re sure to see a second consecutive down-sized sellout at RFK.