LA disappoints with shockingly low attendance for USWNT’s Gold Cup opener

Soccer fans in Los Angeles did not show out for the United States women’s national team’s 5-0 victory vs. Dominican Republic in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup on Tuesday.

The USWNT will play all three of their group stage games at Dignity Health Sports Park, the home of the LA Galaxy. The players will be hoping the attendance improves as the tournament progresses.

On Tuesday just 3,242 fans filled the 27,000-seat stadium.

Why was the USWNT attendance so low?

Several factors likely contributed to the miniscule turnout on Tuesday. Here were some of the biggest reasons.

Tuesday night kickoff at 10:15 p.m. ET

People have bedtimes Concacaf! Shoutout to any poor souls on Eastern time who stayed up for the whole game and will undoubtedly regret it when the alarm goes off on Wednesday.

Younger fans typically turn out in high numbers for the USWNT. Playing the game that late on a school night likely deterred families from coming to the game. 

Cold and rainy conditions

Tuesday was not the ideal weather when people think about Los Angeles. There were even questions about if games would be played as the field took on heavy rain throughout the day. 

By the time the USWNT came out the temperature was in the mid 50s with on and off rain. Fans that did attend wore ponchos.

The opponent

The USWNT had only ever played the Dominican Republic once before and the game was about as dominating as it gets. USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher could have brought a lawn chair with how little she had to do.

The Dominican Republic hardly got the ball into the other half of the field as they registered just one shot while the USWNT had 31 on the night.

At times the game looked more like a training routine for the USWNT trying to break down the Dominican Republic’s defense.

The level of opposition also saw several big names benched for the U.S.

Lindsey Horan, Trinity Rodman, Naomi Girma, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox and Rose Lavelle were all on the bench to start the game.

Poor advertising?

This one is more of the opinion of the writer. Did anyone else feel like there’s been little to no marketing of the first-ever Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup? Tuesday’s game wasn’t even on TV as it was broadcasted on Paramount+ in English and ESPN+ in Spanish.

Concacaf controls which games are shown where and ultimately decided not to broadcast ANY of the USWNT’s group stage games on regular TV.

Ticket prices?

High ticket prices have long been a complaint for American soccer fans. The Women’s Gold Cup ticket prices aren’t as outrageous as usual. A look at tickets for the USWNT’s next game shows the cheapest tickets going for around $25. 

Is USWNT attendance going down?

World Soccer Talk reported that 2023 was the best year for home attendance since 2019 as the USWNT averaged 17,961 fans per game. They only failed to break 10,000 fans once last year which was on Dec. 2 in a friendly against China at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when 8,768 fans attended.

Tuesday’s dud seemed to be the perfect storm of reasons for the smaller crowd. The USWNT’s next game, a Friday night showdown with Argentina, will be a better gauge of the national team’s draw.

I’d be remiss not to mention USWNT captain Lindsey Horan and her recent comments on American soccer fans not being smart. These comments certainly rubbed fans the wrong way, however I doubt it would be as big a reason for the small crowd as the others already listed.

USWNT vs. Dominican Republic highlights

The Dominican Republic defended for their lives for 90 minutes, but the USWNT’s dominance proved too much.

Portland Thorns youngster Olivia Moultrie got her first start for the USWNT and scored a brace. A night she won’t ever forget.

Lynn Williams thought she’d gotten on the score sheet in the first two minutes, however VAR called it back for offside on Sophia Smith.

Williams then scored the USWNT’s second goal after a beautiful bit of play and assist from her Gotham FC teammate Midge Purce.

A pair of late penalties in the second half saw the USWNT extend their lead with Jenna Nighswonger getting on the scoresheet as a USWNT player for the first time and Alex Morgan ending her 363-day goal drought for the national team.

Morgan was a late replacement for Chelsea striker Mia Fishel who tore her ACL on Monday. Concacaf rules state the replacement players must wear the same number of the play they replace which is why Morgan wore No. 7.

The USWNT will play their second group stage game against Argentina on Friday at 10:15 p.m. ET. 

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