gather crowds


I was wondering if one could use "gather" in the following sentence: "Big matches could gather crowds of up to 30,000." The sentence is taken from a "Use of English" test, where you are supposed to decide which answer best fits the gap. The correct answer is "attract" and I understand that it fits best. However, I want to be able to explain why "gather" does not fit. Is "gather crowds" an expression in itself (it almost seems so when I google it)?

Thank you in advance!
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