United Soccer League’s FC Cincinnati broke another attendance record as 30,160 fans watched them upstage Columbus Crew of the MLS.
Columbus Crew travelled to Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium in the Open Cup on Wednesday to face their local rivals in front of 30,160 supporters, smashing the competition’s previous ‘modern era’ attendance record of just over 20,000.
“We certainly feel proud of our club and our city – to be able to pull off a magical evening,” FC Cincinnati president and general Jeff Berding told The Telegraph after their 1-0 win.
“It was a real victory for soccer in this country – setting an attendance record in the modern era for a non-final Open Cup match.
“The fact that we pulled out a very hard-fought victory in front of 30,000 fans – against one of the MLS founders, who helped paved the way for FC Cincinnati to thrive in the way we have – was beautiful. It was pure joy at the end, with a lot of pride to go with it.
“We’re only a third of the way into our second season. In Cincinnati our teams tend to struggle in the highest profile games and this was a great victory for our city. It was pretty emotional.”
Cincinnati have drawn in more than 30,000 fans on multiple occasions in their inaugural season, and Berding believes the club are proving to be ready for an MLS expansion spot.
He added: “Regional rivalry is good for sports – and we think that we are showing that bringing in Cincinnati would be good for MLS collectively but also for teams where there is historic regional rivalries between the cities.”