Here’s how FC Cincinnati is preparing for a near-capacity TQL Stadium

FC Cincinnati officially opened TQL Stadium for its first home match on May 16, and club officials were proud to present the venue even though the size of the crowd was reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted in Ohio and the club is set to host a possible near-sellout crowd for the first time since the 2019 season for Saturday's match against Colorado Rapids, there's added pride around the organization.

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Tickets remain available for the contest but are expected to sell, and only a few rows of seats around the stadium will be blocked off to maintain MLS pandemic protocols. 

"I feel like I'm in high school because this weekend is homecoming. It's homecoming for all of our fans to come together, all of our season ticket holders, for the first time at TQL Stadium," team President Jeff Berding said during a Thursday news conference.

"(It was) fall of 2019 since we played in front of a full house. I believe that when people think of FC Cincinnati from our earliest days, the image that comes to mind is a full house at Nippert, raucous fans, the Bailey, loud and proud. We've missed that. We've missed that for 18 months... There would be no FC Cincinnati – there would be no TQL Stadium – without our supporters."

A view from the Legends Room balcony inside of FC Cincinnati's new TQL Stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The brand new 26,000-seat stadium is prepared to his its first match on May 16.

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The first match at TQL Stadium nearing full capacity will bring with it logistical challenges, many of which are expected and accounted for.

There's also some expectation that new challenges could arise and require tweaking as FCC continues to grow into its new venue in the city's West End neighborhood.

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