The Columbus Crew have been given a rare opportunity. Their June 7th game at DC United, which had been notable for being the team's last game before the World Cup break, may now be played in front of the largest crowd in franchise history. The game has been moved from RFK Stadium to FedEx Field, where it will be the second game of a double-header. The opening game, and the reason for the potentially huge crowd, will be an exhibition between the reigning World Cup holders Spain against El Salvador. Kickoff times for the pair of games has not been determined.
The capacity of FedEx field has been listed as high as 91,704 - but has been reduced several times over the years, with the most recent figure available being around 79,000. That number is still well beyond the Crew's largest-ever crowd, which was recorded in 2009 - also as part of a doubleheader. Columbus defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on August 8 of that year in front of an announced crowd of 61,572. The other game of that pairing featured Chivas de Guadalajara and Barcelona.
All of the Crew's ten largest crowds have come away from home, in part because the team has played for most of its existence at Crew Stadium. Another part of the explanation can be found in the configuration of Ohio Stadium, where the team played its home games for the first three seasons. As part of the renovations in the late 1990s that forced the initial construction of Crew Stadium, the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes is no longer adequate to host soccer games of any kind. The playing field, which was one of the smallest in Major League Soccer when the league began play, was shrunk even further and can no longer accommodate the field size needed to attract marquee matches.
One interesting footnote to the rescheduled game is that FedEx Field will become the 41st stadium in which the Crew have played an official league match. The venue it replaces, RFK Stadium, has been the team's most-visited away location with 25 appearances.