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Ten Toughest Venues In MLS

Major League Soccer polled players throughout the league to find out the most difficult place to play. Whose supporters make their stadium the toughest place to go and get a result? While you can probably guess that Seattle is number 1, some of the other results might surprise you.

1. Qwest Field (Seattle Sounders)
Is there any way 36,000 fans can’t make a difference? When defenders can’t hear their ‘keeper, even within the 18-yard box, it’s a problem.

2. Rio Tinto Stadium (Real Salt Lake)
They may not be as hyped as the fans in Seattle or Toronto, but RSL’s loyalists make Sandy, Utah, a true fortress (and the team has the home record to prove it).

3. BMO Field (Toronto FC)
Let’s be honest here: with capacity crowds a way of life on the north shore of Lake Ontario, this crowd changed the expectations for soccer crowds in North America. And with a season ticket waiting list of more than 10,000 fans, it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

4. The Home Depot Center (LA Galaxy)
They may be notoriously late to arrive, but the Galaxy faithful have always been one of the more vocal audiences in MLS. And with three different supporters groups spread out around the stadium, there is no place for an opposing player to hide.

5. Toyota Park (Chicago Fire)
Is there a stand in MLS as intimidating as the one housing Chicago’s Section 8? It’s loud, it’s organized, and it’s impossible to ignore.

6. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Colorado Rapids)
While the altitude surely works in favor of DSG Park, it’s the close proximity of the supporters’ terrace behind the west goal that also gives the home team an edge.

7. Crew Stadium (Columbus Crew)
The consolidation of supporters groups into a single, raucous corner of Crew Stadium has had a dramatic effect on the atmosphere in Columbus. You won’t find a more unwelcoming spot from which to take a corner kick in all of MLS.

8. PPL Park (Philadelphia Union)
The Sons of Ben may get all the press, but there is life in Chester beyond the River End. They were the new guys in 2010, but these fans already have a reputation.

9. RFK Stadium (D.C. United)
This is the original 12th Man of MLS. Unlike most stadiums, the club’s largest supporters groups are housed in the bouncing, sideline stands in full view of the TV cameras. Why hide the hardcore behind the goals?

10. Red Bull Arena (New York Red Bulls)
The South Ward brings the ruckus with its “only in New York” mix of Latin-percussion and witty interpolations of hip-hop, punk and terrace anthems. Add in the only full roof in MLS and the volume pumps up to 11.

Do you agree with MLS player poll? I don’t think it is a coincidence that 8 of the top 10 venues are soccer-specific stadiums. As Quest Field might as well be because of the number of seats they sell for every home game.

Creative Commons License photo credit: flowerego