Soccer fans who spent most of 2020 rooting for the Timbers and Thorns from their couch will soon have a chance to get back into the stadium.
Today, the Oregon Health Authority announced it will allow crowds to attend outdoor sporting events at 25% capacity. That means approximately 6,500 people can watch the Thorns home opener at Providence Park on April 9 when they take on Kansas City in the first match of the National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup tournament—the first live professional sporting competition in Oregon with spectators in attendance since March 10, 2020.
The Timbers will then host attendees on April 13 when they play Honduran Club Deportivo Marathón in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. The Major League Soccer home opener is then set for April 24 against the Houston Dynamo.
To keep fans and staff safe during the ongoing pandemic, there will be new safety protocols in place, including transactions via Apple and Google Pay, mandatory mask wearing, digital ticketing, and spaced pod seating. Anyone who comes to a game with personal items will also need to use a clear bag instead of a purse or backpack and order any food or beverage online.
Tickets for the first two Thorns matches are scheduled to go on sale March 25, but they'll likely be difficult to snag. So far, only annual members will be allowed the chance to purchase admission. The Timbers have yet to announce when it will begin selling seats.
Major League Soccer isn't the only local sport preparing to welcome people back to the arena.
The Hillsboro Hops baseball team announced on Instagram today that it is also going to allow 25% capacity inside Ron Tonkin Field on opening night, May 4.
Last year, the team signed a 10-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, making them their Single A-Advanced affiliate. That means more field time for the previously short-season organization: They'll go from 76 games a year to 132.
The Portland Trail Blazers, meanwhile, are awaiting word on a proposal to allow fans back inside Moda Center. In a statement, Blazers president Chris McGowan said the team is "confident" it will be approved soon.