Major League Soccer has some impressive stadiums across the country. As a growing number of beautiful soccer-specific stadiums with downtown locations continue to grace US cities, and franchise owners propose further investment in their franchises. The future of MLS looks assured
Teams like Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders have shown that they can regularly draw crowds of fans large enough to fill NFL-sized stadiums.
Here are the 15 best stadiums in Major League Soccer.
15. Stade Saputo
- Location: Montreal, Canada
- Club: CF Montreal
- Capacity: 20,801
Due to travel restrictions, CF Montreal was forced to base themselves at Inter Miami CF Stadium in 2021 temporarily. In normal times they play their regular fixture at the Stade Saputo. As a result of the stadium expansion, Montreal Impacts home now has a capacity of 20,520 spectators.
During the 1976 Olympics, a stadium was built specifically for soccer to replace a former training ground. The original stadium could only accommodate 13,034 spectators, severely limiting the profitability of CF Montreal.
The Saputo family, whose company acquired naming rights to the project, covering half of the budget of $17 million needed to construct the new stadium. Strategic commercial partners were sourced to find the remaining funds.
14. Lower.com Field
- Location: Columbus Ohio
- Club: Columbus Crew
- Capacity: 20,371
Having played at Historic Crew Stadium for their final season, the reigning champion Columbus Crew SC debuted their new stadium in the summer of 2021. The opening of the stadium was marked by a game between the New England Revolution and the Crew.
As a result of delays in finalizing the construction, the first four games of the 2021 MLS season will be played at the old stadium, while the rest will be played at the new arena.
Some 20,000 people can be seated in the new stadium, with 3,400 in the Nordecke – a new grandstand reserved for the most vocal supporters.
13. TQL Stadium
- Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Club: FC Cincinnati
- Capacity: 26,000
FC Cincinnati spent its first three seasons in the United Soccer League’s second division at Nippert Stadium, a college football stadium.
Following the team’s first season, it became clear that the demand for soccer in Cincinnati was strong as home games averaged 17,296 spectators. An ownership group was formed. They began negotiations with Major League Soccer to become an expansion team.
Cincinnati officially submitted its expansion bid in January 2017 to build a new stadium, with a particular focus on building in potential soccer-specific stadium locations. The result is yet another impressive soccer-specific stadium.
12. Subaru Park.
- Location: Chester, Pennsylvania.
- Club: Philadelphia Union
- Capacity: 18,500
During the summer of 2010, the stadium was completed, having begun construction in late 2008. Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders played in the stadium’s first match on 27 June 2010.
It was also expected to spur a revitalization of the Chester waterfront area, but this did not happen in the years that followed.
As a result of Subaru’s stadium naming rights deal, the Philadelphia Union’s stadium is now Subaru Park. Since the stadium opened in 2010, it has hosted numerous sporting events.
Attendance during MLS games for the Union averaged 92,5% during the 2019 season, making them one of the best-supported teams in MLS.
11. DRV PNK Stadium
- Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Club: Inter Miami CF
- Capacity: 18,000
Inter Miami CF has temporarily moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, previously known as Inter Miami CF Stadium.
There has been rapid development at the former Lockhart Stadium site to help accommodate the club and its supporters. However, this is a temporary home to the newly minted MLS franchise partly owned by David Beckham.
When it opens, Miami Freedom Park will be a permanent home and training facility for the Clubs’ teams, including their youth academy.
There will be 58 acres of public parks, a tech hub, restaurants, shops, soccer fields, and a stadium for Inter Miami FC at this next stadium, or rather, recreation destination.
10. Paypal Park
- Location: San Jose, California
- Club: San Jose Earthquakes
- Capacity: 18,000
In June 2007, the San Jose City Council was presented with a proposal for the new Earthquakes stadium. According to the plan, the city of San Jose would rezone a parcel of industrial land in its Edenvale district to residential use.
The new Earthquakes Stadium cost over $100 million, $40 m more than originally anticipated, and was financed solely by private sources.
Notable features include pitch-level boxes and one open end without a stand but just a scoreboard. Seating can be added to this end later, should they want to increase to a capacity of 24,000 people.
9. Lumen Field
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Club: Seattle Sounders
- Capacity: 68,740
Although the stadium has a total seating capacity of 68,740, it operates with a much smaller capacity of 37,722 during the regular season of Major League Soccer, 5,000 additional seats for special events, and 1,400 wheelchair-accessible seats.
The seating area has a 70 percent roof, and fans can enjoy wide, comfortable seats just 52 feet from the field and 40 feet from the end zone. Concession stands, restrooms, and 12 elevators are available, too, making it one of the most fan-friendly stadiums in the league.
The Stadium Art Program allows fans to experience diversity and culture while viewing the field and surrounding areas. In 1998, 254 responses were received from across the United States and Canada.
A total of 12 artists and their projects were selected from all the submissions. There is currently $2 million worth of art displayed throughout the stadium.
8. Q2 Stadium
- Location: Austin, Texas
- Club: Austin FC
- Capacity: 20,500
Gensler Sports designed the Q2 Stadium and soccer park for Austin FC, the city’s first professional soccer team. The Q2 Stadium can accommodate 20,500 soccer fans, combining the city’s natural landscape, cultural heritage, and forward-looking growth.
Furthermore, the large canopy above the seating bowl shades the seats and protects them from rain. It also has an open concourse, open corners, and breathable mesh fabric seats, more than any other major league sports venue.
7. Children’s Mercy Park
- Location: Kansas City, Kansas
- Club: Kansas City FC
- Capacity: 18,467
Visitors to Children’s Mercy Park got a second chance to make an impression. After fifteen years of playing in ill-suited venues, Sporting Kansas City can now redefine its organization and set the course for long-term sustained growth and success.
In the MLS, they now have one of the most impressive stadiums. Children’s Mercy Park’s design celebrates both the body and the ball through stop-motion techniques. A building’s exterior is composed of repeated angular metal fins representing a player’s body or their athleticism and movement on the field.
6. Banc of California Stadium
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Club: Los Angeles FC
- Capacity: 22,000
Los Angeles Football Club is now the home of the latest expansion team in Major League Soccer. For the new 22,000-seat facility for Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, Gensler designed it to anchor the Figueroa corridor and take advantage of the incredible views of the downtown skyline.
A more personalized game-day experience is captured by imbuing an intimate European-style character in this state-of-the-art facility by emphasizing the excitement of the game day.
Stadium-goers and visitors to the park, the nearby museums, and the University of Southern California campus can enjoy a variety of ancillary programmatic elements, including entertainment, retail, and dining. In 2018, the stadium opened to the public.
5. BBVA Stadium
- Location: Heuston, Texas.
- Club: Houston Dynamo
- Capacity: 22,000
BBVA Compass Stadium was built for the San Jose franchise when it moved to Houston in 2005. The stadium was constructed after several years of negotiations.
Robertson Stadium is an American football stadium on the campus of the University of Houston, where the Houston Dynamo played.
Construction began in February 2011, and the stadium was inaugurated on 12 May 2012 with a 1-0 win between the Houston Dynamo and DC United.
4. Exploria Stadium
- Location: Orlando, Florida
- Club: Orlando City SC
- Capacity: 25,500
Orlando City SC has been playing here since 2017. On April 17, Orlando City, SC, as part of their home opener, will face Atlanta United FC at Exploria Stadium. Although it was planned for 19,000 seats upon groundbreaking, these plans soon changed as the club’s owners witnessed its popularity grow.
Orlando City’s popularity during the first MLS season (played temporarily at the nearby Citrus Bowl) caused the tribunes to be expanded immediately.
A total of 25,500 people can be accommodated by the three corner sections and two upper tiers. $155 million was the final price tag for the privately-financed venue.
3. Audi Field
- Location: Washington, D.C
- Club: D.C. United
- Capacity: 20,000
Audi Field may have been the most anticipated stadium of the MLS. DC United dreamed of having a soccer-specific stadium for years, and the dream came true in 2018.
The stadium is not the league’s most important or most impressive venue, but it makes the most of a very tight and constrained site. During its first season, the 20,000-seater averaged approximately 88% attendance.
In contrast to many other countries, however, the stadium’s construction, valued at around $200 million, was not paid for by the public authorities. The stadium was financed privately together with the scheme. Audi Field joined a growing number of MLS clubs by implementing standing sections.
2. Red Bull Arena
- Location: Harrison, New Jersey
- Team: New York Red Bulls
- Capacity: 25000
As with the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, the club changed its stadium before the 2020 campaign. As part of the renovation, the Red Bulls created a vertical section with rail seating.
This will be the venue’s debut during the new season. They also let New York City FC host eight games at their stadium and against Kansas City.
Red Bull Arena is home to two American professional soccer clubs. In addition to the NYC Red Bulls, there is a women’s team here, NJ/NY Gotham FC. Red Bulls defeated Santos 3-1 when the stadium opened in March 2010—since then, explicitly been used as the home for Red Bulls MLS games.
Several top clubs and international teams have also played in the arena. These include the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Juventus, Ecuador, Colombia.
1. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Team: Atlanta United
- Capacity: 71,000
You might think that a spaceship has just landed in downtown Atlanta if you were walking through downtown without knowing that Mercedes-Benz Stadium exists. This stadium wouldn’t look out of place, gracing the top soccer leagues in the world.
The 62,350 square-foot building looks like something out of a science fiction film. That Atlanta United has chosen to call it home is nothing short of amazing. They share the same stadium as the Atlanta Falcons.
The team’s soccer matches always draw huge crowds, unlike those of many of its MLS rivals. Atlanta United averaged 52,510 fans for the 2019 season – over 12,000 more than their closest rivals.
Besides being the biggest stadium in Major League Soccer, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also one of the nation’s most modern sporting venues.
It features the first 360-degree halo display of its kind, allowing fans to follow the action on a 1,075-foot screen that sits high above the field. Also included is an indoor display column that measures 6,700 square feet.
Ultimately, American soccer fans should check out Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the most fantastic matchday experience in MLS.