[MLS 2012] Fans and players had hoped otherwise, but rather than install a grass surface at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders and NFL Seahawks have again opted for FieldTurf.
The teams announced Tuesday that the latest version of FieldTurf will be installed next February. It replaces a surface laid in 2008 that had deteriorated considerably in the past two seasons.
"The new field will offer the field maintenance crew an outstanding and extremely durable product to meet the requirements of each event," said Sounders and Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin in a press release.
In addition to NFL and MLS games, CenturyLink Field will also host University of Washington football games for another season while Husky Stadium is being renovated.
Heavy field usage is one reason grass will not be installed. Next weekend, for example, there will be college and pro games on back-to-back days, followed by another NFL game the following Thursday.
In addition to at least 20 soccer games and more than a dozen football games played there annually, CenturyLink Field is also used for concerts and other events.
"We are looking forward to the installation of our new field for 2012 and beyond," said Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer. "FieldTurf has been a great partner for us and they are rightly recognized as the global leader, having the highest amount of FIFA certified pitches in soccer stadiums and training facilities around the world."
This decision keeps the number of MLS teams playing on artificial surfaces at four: New England, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.
Saputo Stadium, where the Montreal Impact will play in MLS starting next year, has a grass surface, as will the new facility for the Houston Dynamo scheduled to open next spring.