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Houston Dash set record for largest crowd in NWSL playoff history

Houston Dash fans cheer on their team during a September match. (Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Dash reached more than one milestone Sunday, attracting their biggest-ever crowd during their first-ever playoff match.

With an announced sellout of 21,284, the Dash posted the largest crowd in a NWSL playoff match ever. It’s also the second-largest women’s soccer crowd in Texas history behind the USWNT and Mexico facing off in 2003.

The Dash earned the No. 4 seed in the NWSL postseason, which meant their first playoff game in club history came in front of a very friendly crowd.

“Very cool we are playing at home,” goalkeeper Jane Campbell said ahead of the contest. “That’s amazing, one that we don’t travel at all and most importantly that we get to play in front of our fans. The fans get to be a part of this historic year and we need every one of them cheering.”

The Dash announced several days ahead of the match against the Kansas City Current that they had sold than 17,000 tickets – which put them on track for their attendance record, and for the third-largest crowd in NWSL postseason history.

In the lead-up to Sunday, club president Jessica O’Neill said the team was targeting a sellout. Capacity for PNC Bank Stadium sits at 21,500.

“Absolutely,” O’Neill told The Striker of her confidence in the team’s abilities to pack the stadium. “We have no doubt Houston will show up for the Dash on Oct. 16, and we know the biggest Dash match in team history is a can’t-miss event.”

The club’s home attendance record stood at 13,025 before Sunday. That record was set back in July 2015 against the Chicago Red Stars. But the 2022 season has been a big one in Houston, with many more people turning out for the team than in 2021.

“We’ve seen a 60% increase in average attendance from 2021 to 2022,” O’Neill said. “There is significantly more work to be done to ensure a packed stadium becomes the norm but this progress is a step in the right direction.”