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San Jose Earthquakes happy to play in front of home fans on Saturday

After more than a year with fans out of the stands, a return to olden times.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at San Jose Earthquakes Chris Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly every team playing in their home stadiums to begin the 2021 MLS regular season have welcomed fans back in some capacity, and the San Jose Earthquakes will join the fray on Saturday when they host FC Dallas at PayPal Park for their home opener.

The last game in San Jose that allowed fans to sit in the stands was on March 7, 2020, just days before the coronavirus shutdown, well, shut everything down in American society. And that game left a bitter taste for the Earthquakes and their fans, as they got worked 5-2 by Minnesota United.

But after a year of closed stands, a remote tournament and spectators sitting in their cars for a drive-thru experience, the Earthquakes will have fans back inside the venue and attacker Cristian Espinoza welcomed their return.

“It’s going to be nice to have fans back in the stands,” said Espinoza to reporters on Wednesday through an interpreter. “In the game last week against Houston we did have a few who flew from San Jose over to the match, so it’s very nice to feel the support and for this week we’re definitely going to have that. I’m very excited, it’s going to help all of us for the game and it’s very nice to see some things coming back to normal, including fans back in the stands.”

Don’t forget that Chris Wondolowski came back for another season in part so he could play in front of the San Jose faithful again, and with the street outside the stadium now officially called “Wondo Way” the legend and the crowds can mutually appreciate one another again, albeit while socially distanced.

San Jose have had some very special home game memories over the years, and they hope they can add another on Saturday when they take on FC Dallas at PayPal Park.

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