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A deeper look at the 2014 attendance figures

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FC Dallas broke some attendance records in 2014.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I remember back in my days of spending far too much time on Big Soccer threads that each week there was an attendance guessing thread. This was back when Major League Soccer was at 12 teams, maybe 13 when Toronto came into the mix. Either way, the guesses were always fairly simple back then.

Oddly enough today, isn't that far fetch from those guesses. Sure we get a few random numbers thrown out for gate numbers and teams like Houston always typically inflate their numbers. But at the end of the day, MLS and more importantly, FC Dallas is heading in a good direction.

For the second consecutive season, FC Dallas broke the franchise record for attendance in a season. The previous mark of 261,346 was set last season when the club averaged 15,373 fans per game at Toyota Stadium. In 2014, FCDallas averaged 16,816 per game for a total of 285,880 - 24,534 above the previous franchise record. That is a 31% increase over two seasons and a nine percent increase since 2013.

Team Attendance
Seattle Sounders 43,734
Toronto FC 22,086
LA Galaxy 21,257
Portland Timbers 20,778
Vancouver Whitecaps 20,408
Real Salt Lake 20,351
Houston Dynamo 20,117
Sporting Kansas City 20,003
New York Red Bulls 19,421
D.C. United 17,065
Montreal Impact 17,421
Philadelphia Union 17,631
Columbus Crew 16,881
FC Dallas 16,816
New England Revolution 16,681
Chicago Fire 16,076
Colorado Rapids 15,082
San Jose Earthquakes 14,947
Chivas USA 7,063

*Numbers came from Wikipedia

A few thoughts on FCD's numbers

- Plenty of reasons to smile at that number when you look at say 2010 (10,815) or 2011 (12,861).

- Not just the number has gone up but as we all know the atmosphere in the stadium has improved dramatically over the last two years. It went from being a 'nice place to take the family' to a slightly more intimidating venue for opposing teams. Thank you Beer Garden.

- Only one regular season game with the attendance below 15k, a Wednesday night game late in the season against Seattle. Which by the way, may have been one of the better crowds of the season in terms of loudness.

- Only one sellout, the July 4 game against Philadelphia.

A few thoughts from around MLS

- All but six teams saw their numbers grow from 2013.

- San Jose is likely to see a major uptick next year in their numbers with a new stadium. Just go ahead an plan on it. They won't be last in attendance next year. Colorado or Chicago likely will be though, both of them continue to either be steady or going in reverse.

- Three teams saw giant upticks in gate figures: DCU 25%, Toronto 22% and San Jose 17% (part of that was due to playing at the new Levi Stadium)

- Thank goodness we're ditching Chivas USA next year. Between that and adding New York and Orlando, the league should see an even bigger increase at the gates.

- Oddly enough LA and Seattle saw dips in their gate numbers. Hard to explain why but at the same time it isn't worth getting worried over either.

- It is hard to get too overly excited by Houston's numbers when looking at them next to Sporting's. Same goes for New York's. Those numbers seem exaggerated.