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The Five Finest MLS Venues: What’s #3?

Background: Crew Stadium is my favorite in MLS. It was the league’s first “soccer specific stadium” and recent construction has made it one of the most “state of the art”. Owned and operated by the Hunt Sports Group, Crew Stadium still has no corporate sponsor, but I think that fact just adds to its charm. I think it deserves the #3 spot.

Construction: Crew Stadium opened in 1999 after a one year build and $28.5 million in costs. It holds 22,555 fans and has hosted one MLS Cup and two MLS All-Star Games. It’s pitch is FIFA regulation size and its design ensures there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Architect NBBJ, Inc. did so well it should be allowed to design all MLS stadiums.

Features: Crew Stadium has one of the best atmospheres of any MLS stadium, and that is a big reason why it is #3 on this list. It’s design ensures everyone is close to the action and it’s amenities are some of the best in the league. Of all the stadiums, it has one of the most “European-style” environments, meaning people actually show up and cheer.

Fans: Prior to recent construction, the Crew’s three largest supporters’ groups sat apart, but alterations have forced them all in the same area. This area, dubbed “the Nordecke” (meaning “North Corner”), is MLS’s rowdiest and certainly one of its loudest. Though oft criticized, these fans love the Crew and I love their ardent support and their stadium.