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Portland Timbers Earn Second Lowest Attendance Since U.S. Open Cup at Merlo [Updated]

The Portland Timbers hosted the Tampa Bay Rowdies last night, but few showed up to witness it.

USA TODAY Sports Images

Last night's recorded attendance was 5,931 people. Of course, if you watched from home, this should come as no surprise to you. The "P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D" was very much noticeable throughout the match and whenever the camera would pan to one side or the other it was clear that this wasn't the same kind of crowd we've grown accustom to. In fact, since joining MLS this was the lowest attended home game since the Portland Timbers' 2-nil win over Chivas USA in the play-in round of the 2011 U.S. Open Cup. That game, if you'll remember correctly, was played at Merlo Field and was filled to the brim.

So just why was the Timbers game last night so weakly attended? I'm sure it comes down to a number of reasons, but my primary guess is that the competition simply didn't excite people. Last night's game was supposed to be against the Seattle Sounders, in which case they would have played at Starfire in Washington. However, due to the Sounders' loss the Timbers got the chance to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Not exactly a seat seller team.

And while many might argue that the Wilmington Hammerheads drew a respectable crowd, that game was also included in season ticket packages. The game last night was out of pocket for every attendee where the lowest entry ticket was $15. Kind of a lot to ask when we knew that the team wasn't going to be comprised mostly of starters against another team that was from a lower division.

Despite these valid reasons, however, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. We're supposed to be Soccer City, USA right? Granted our home sell out record during the regular season is still amazing, but I would be lying if I didn't say that last night's attendance worried me for a potential future where that new major league sports team smell wears off and attendance numbers slide. We've seen Toronto FC's and the Philadelphia Union's attendance drop off a bit since joining the league so it's not beyond reason.

For those that were in attendance. You guys were brilliant and loudly heard throughout the stadium.

UPDATE: Apologies. I forgot about the Cal FC match. Probably for good reason. Also this was for competition games, not friendlies.

What did you think about last night's attendance? Were you there? How was the crowd?