Sounders set attendance record for fifth consecutive year

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Sounders averaged more than 44,000 per game, the third highest average in North American soccer history.

I know people get tired of hearing about how great the Seattle Sounders' attendance is, but since the national media seems to have just picked up this story, now felt like a good time to toot our own horns a little. As you probably know by now, the Sounders drew 66,216 fans to Sunday's regular-season finale. That brought the season average to 44,038, which is a MLS record, and more than twice as many fans as this year's No. 2 averaged.

You also probably know, by now, that this is the fifth straight year the Sounders have set the average attendance record. This year, they did it with two crowds of at least 66,000 and three crowds of at least 55,000. The Sounders now own three of the top 5 standalone attendances in MLS history, with two of them coming this season.

The only teams in North American soccer history to average more fans are, of course, the New York Cosmos. In 1978, the Cosmos averaged 47,856 fans, which is still the all-time record, and in 1979 they averaged 46,690, which is the second-highest total. The Sounders now own the Nos. 3 and 4 spots (last year, they averaged 43,144).

In terms of total attendance, though, the Sounders actually moved ahead of the Cosmos, who only played 15 home games in each of their record-breaking seasons. The Sounders have drawn 1,482,100 fans over the past two regular seasons, as opposed to the Cosmos' two-year total of 1,418,190.

As a whole, MLS was slightly down from last year's record numbers. But after a slow start, the league rebounded to post the second best average in league history at 18,594. That's down just 1.1 percent from a year ago. Also encouraging, 10 of the league's 19 teams saw year-over-year increases and if you take Chivas USA out of the equation -- which cratered with an average of 8,366 -- league attendance was actually up.

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