March 2010

Ranking MLS Soccer Stadiums

I’m sick and tired of defending Major League Soccer. In conversations pertaining to athletics, most people lose faith in my sports knowledge when I even casually mention the word “soccer.”

Soccer? You’re joking, right?

At this point, my buddies take a good three to four minutes to bash the game they don’t fully understand. It’s boring. There are not enough goals. The players dive all over the field and shy away from contact. I’d rather watch other American sports. They don’t even have their own stadiums.

Hold it right there.

Those first four complaints I cannot argue with; they are indeed your own worthless and narrow-minded opinions. Please allow me mercilessly counter attack that argument of yours you so graciously threw down on the table.

As of right now, of the 16 participating MLS clubs, nine play in their own stadiums.


I’m not going to delve into detail too much here, but you should know that most of these stadiums outline the blueprint for success, with a few mixing and matching: full house, rowdy and energetic fans, flags waved, scarves adorned, close proximity to the actual city, long lines for season tickets, etc.

Chicago Fire – Toyota Park

Colorado Rapids – DSG Park

Columbus Crew – Crew Stadium

FC Dallas – Pizza Hut Park

Real Salt Lake – Rio Tinto

Seattle – Qwest Field

Toronto – BMO Stadium


The Home Depot Center in Carson, California and home to roommates Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA is technically defined as a multi-use sports complex but was designed specifically for soccer-related purposes.

New York Red Bulls and expansion side Philadelphia Union will be rolling out the red carpet for new stadiums when the MLS season starts in March. Hopefully, the Red Bulls won’t be dazed and dazzled by the likes of their new supposed-to-be-gorgeous soccer complex, but then again, nothing was worse than last season for them. As for the Union, if PPL Park turns out be anything remotely like Qwest Field in Seattle, MLS administrators will be pleased.

The Kansas City Wizards, having long ago bid farewell to Arrowhead Stadium, temporarily settled at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in 2008. These days, the lads in blue and white are eagerly awaiting the development of their new home, tentatively named Wizards Stadium for a 2011 opening.

AEG, the club owner of the Houston Dynamo, is heading talks of finalizing a deal in which a 21,000 – 22,000 person seating capacity stadium would be built southeast of the Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston.


As of right now, a new soccer stadium is the least of DC United’s problems. RFK Stadium works per se, but the club in general is two steps away from a downright free fall. Plans for a new stadium have been proposed, but myriad of problems with financial woes topping the list have blurred the focus on that endeavor.

Really the only ammunition soccer bashers have is produced in the name of the New England Revolution. Gillete Stadium is awful. I’m not sure about you, but watching soccer games in not even half full stadiums makes me cringe. Focus your attention off Tom Brady, New Englanders and fix this problem now.

Give the MLS a few years and they won’t be the butt of American sports jokes. The evidence of improvement and expansion rests right above you. On a side note, check out our US Men’s 23 on the plane to South Africa post tomorrow morning.

Tim Patterson is a staff writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at

Tim Patterson

  • Dan

    I’ve heard HDC is second to none in terms of matchday experience.

    As a DC United fan, let me tell you that securing a new deal for a stadium is my highest priority for the team. I get the sense that we DCU fans can grit through poor performances, but the longer we stay in RFK, the more likely it is that the franchise packs up and skips town–if it doesn’t fold outright.

    You’re aware that it’s actually costing the franchise money to play in RFK, right? Ticket sales don’t break us even. I’m not sure how deep Will Chang’s patience or pockets are, but they have to wearing mighty thin by now.

  • Tim

    DC does seem to be in the middle of a funk right now. Statistically speaking they are the most successful MLS team in history, but have failed to reach the playoffs to past two seasons. The loss of franchise player Luiciano Emilio hasn’t helped, along with veterans Christian Gomez and Jamie Moreno combining for a total of 71 years in age. Dare I mention Josh Wicks as well?

    Fresh blood in Quaranta, Wallace, Danny Szetela , and Chris Pontius have a lot of potential. DC had only one pick in the entire draft, a fourth rounder but have been busy picking up Salvadorian striker Cristian Castillo and a pair of ready to play South Africans.

    If they can get back in the competitive field, hopefully the stadium issues will be easier to work out. It sounds as if Chang is trying to find the solution from what I’ve read, but for the future of this club, you’re right when you say a new more soccer-specific stadium is needed.

  • Who else thinks the US should play a game at RBA before the World Cup? How about the Czech Republic game that was TBA on the location? I know they chose Hartford, but RBA would have been a great atmosphere in the last couple of matches. Philly should be swell for the send off game.