Portland could be considered the mecca of soccer mania in the US.
Since the Timbers entered MLS in 2011, every match they’ve played has been a sell out. Their sister club in the NWSL, the Thorns has also been driving legions of fans, averaging about 13,000 in their two seasons of existence.
With a national TV audience tuning in for a game broadcast on ESPN2 and national media already in town to cover Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game, Thorns fans raised the stakes even higher.
The club tweeted out last night a photo (seen above) captioned:
“What a @NWSL record-breaking crowd of 19,123 looks like. #BAONPDX”
That’s not remotely close to the largest crowd to ever watch a professional women’s soccer match in North America. The Washington Freedom averaged more than 14,000 during the inaugural WUSA season in 2001 and had several large crowds. But that and other well-attended women’s soccer matches were often helped by being part of doubleheaders with men’s teams.
This game, as well as other Thorns matches, is remarkable in part because it was a standalone match. Sure, the Timbers share a front-office staff and they are both operated by Merritt Paulson, but fans are packing Providence Park to see the Thorns, but not as an opening act for the Timbers.
To make this record even sweeter, the Thorns beat the Houston Dash 1-0.
Source: SB Nation