PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Fans were back in the stands at Providence Park Friday night for the first time in quite a while for the season opener against Kansas City.

"The energy is really different just being there in person," Thorns fan Emery Moen said.

The Rose City Riveters were excited to be back after a year and a half long hiatus due to COVID-19.

"I really miss being in person. Especially with the Thorns, they’ve always been a big part of me being a female soccer player," Audree Ballo said.

"Excited to see some of the faces who were playing last year - some of our new draft picks like Morgan Weaver. So, you know, kinda just feels like coming home," Emma Lebow said.

The experience is different than when fans were last here, though.

Now Multnomah County is in the high-risk level, outdoor recreation like stadiums can only allow 15% capacity.

"I mean it’s kinda anxious feeling of just like being in a crowd again even if it’s not as many people," Ballo said.

The Thorns are well prepared to accommodate COVID protocols, implementing things like sectioning off seats into pods, touchless ticket scanners and cashless concession stands.

"It definitely feels like a lot of restrictions that definitely make you feel a lot safer," Ballo said.

"Since we’re outside I think it’s pretty safe," Moen said.

Even though Providence Park wasn't packed at 100% capacity, fans made sure to fill the stadium with cheers to let the Thorns know they're happy to be back.

Thorns got the win over Kansas City, 2-1.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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