If you expand it, they will cheer.
Over the weekend, 44,679 soccer fans packed the newly-renovated Providence Park to watch the Timbers and Thorns season home-opening matches. Mike Donovan, the teams' statistician, tweeted Sunday that Providence Park hasn't seen attendance numbers like that over a two-day span since it opened in 1926.
The Timbers broke in the new Providence Park—which has been closed for construction for nearly a year—on Saturday in a game against Los Angeles FC. It was the first of 12 games the team has played at home this season while waiting for the stadium to re-open. The team lost, however, 3-2 to LAFC.
The newly opened Providence Park has room for 4,000 more fans among other upgrades. The additional seating was evident on Saturday, Giovanni Savarese, the team's head coach, said in a statement.
"You can feel the difference of those extra 4,000 [seats]. Not only because they're loud, but the presence. That building that feels like it's on top of you is fantastic," he said. "At the end of the day, we have unbelievable fans and the support was incredible today."
Ateendence for the Timbers game alone was 25,218, which is the biggest crowd Providence Park has seen since the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals.
Timbers Army fans attended the grand re-opening in droves and unveiled a massive, Enchanted Forest-themed tifo.
The Thorns had better luck during their home opener against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday, winning 3-0. The team had played six matches on the road while waiting for Providence Park to open. Attendance at the game was 19,461.
"I'm proud of what this city, club, community does to continue to set the standard to support female athletes, the best players in the world," Thorns head coach Mark Parsons said in a statement. "While this ride is going on, I'm going to make the most of it and enjoy it. It's a special place to work with high expectations and that's a fun place to be."