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Cincinnati in Elevated Division II Company

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/19/17, 3:08PM EDT


Attendance in Louisville, San Antonio also compares well to other Division II leagues

Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati’s USL Home Opener-record attendance of 23,144 at Nippert Stadium was the second-highest attended game in the United States and Canada over the past weekend, trailing only Orlando City SC’s clash with the LA Galaxy. It also compared favorably with some of the top Division II leagues around the rest of the world.

Cincinnati’s attendance against Saint Louis FC at Nippert Stadium drew more fans than any game in Mexico’s Liga Ascenso and Spain’s La Liga 2 this past week. Tenerife’s 3-3 draw with Girona in the Spanish second division saw 19,395 fans at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López, while FC Juarez’s 3-0 victory against Celaya F.C. at the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez drew 15,832 fans as Juarez clinched a fourth-place finish in the standings ahead of the playoffs that kick off this week.

FCC’s attendance even compared well to the best-attended Division II league in the world, England’s Championship, where it would have sat sixth overall as teams turned out for the traditional Bank Holiday Monday slate of games. Cincinnati’s attendance surpassed those of clubs like former Premier League champion Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Queens Park Rangers.

“I’ve been in this game for a long, long time and there was a special atmosphere tonight,” said FCC Head Coach Alan Koch after Saturday’s game. “We went out and got the result as a team, but also created a great performance for the fans and the city. Our game plan tonight worked to perfection and it was gratifying to have such a showing.”

Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC

It wasn’t just FCC making noise at the box office either. Louisville City FC’s second-highest attendance in club history of 9,074 at Slugger Field on Saturday would have placed third in Liga Ascenso’s rankings over the past weekend and fourth in La Liga 2’s. San Antonio FC’s continued strong attendance, which included 6,403 at Toyota Field, also surpassed all-but-three of La Liga 2’s clubs.

“I thought the supporters were incredible, to see so many people come out and support us tonight was fantastic,” said Louisville Head Coach James O’Connor. “I thought right at the end they were really involved and it really helped us. That gives the players a little boost, gives you some more energy, especially at the end when it’s 2-1 and there’s tons of extra time. So credit to the supporters, they were fantastic tonight.”

Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

With another big slate of games coming up this weekend, including a pair of home games for Cincinnati against high-profile opponents Tampa Bay and Louisville, Ottawa Fury FC and the Rochester Rhinos hosting their home openers, and others like Sacramento Republic FC, Saint Louis FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, Phoenix Rising FC and the Richmond Kickers all on home turf, the USL’s growth off the field will continue to be highlighted.

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