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First the snow, now problems with the grass?
by Paul Kennedy, June 10th, 2013 8:52PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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[USA-PANAMA] U.S. players couldn't see the grass on the Dick's Sporting Goods Park field covered with upward of six inches of snow for their last home qualifier, the USA-Costa Rica game in March that will forever be known as the Snow Bowl, so you'd think they'd happy to play on grass for their second qualifier. Think again ...

The sod -- installed at a cost believed to be in the $80,00-$100,000 over the CenturyLink Field turf -- drew very mixed reviews from U.S. players of the eve of the USA-Panama qualifier in Seattle with Michael Bradley complaining that it "leaves a lot to be desired."

And that's a lot nicer than what Vancouver Whitecaps goalie Brad Knighton said after Saturday's MLS game against Seattle Sounders. Since the 'Caps lost, 3-2, you have to take what Knighton says with a grain of salt, but he called the field "terribly ridiculous."

U.S. captain Clint Dempsey was more diplomatic, saying he'd take grass over artificial turf any day.

"It felt fine playing on it [at training Sunday]," he said Monday afternoon. "We’ll get another chance to play on it today, and they’ll water the field and the ball will be moving quickly ­-- which is important -- and rolling true.”

The ball moved quickly but not as quickly as it often does on the CenturyLink Field turf when the Sounders and 'Caps played Saturday night.

The first two goals followed plays that would have probably broken down on the turf -- a through ball to Lamar Neagle would have probably gone out of his reach on the play that resulted in Andy Rose's goal and the through ball Russell Teibert crossed to Camilo for the tying goal a minute later would have probably crossed the end line.

Tuesday's game won't be the first game the USA has played on grass laid down over turf. It played Canada in the 2011 Gold Cup at Detroit's Ford Field and opened the 1994 World Cup indoors at the Pontiac Silverdome against Switzerland -- the first World Cup game played in a domed stadium.



4 comments
  1. Gary Parsons
    commented on: June 11, 2013 at 8:06 a.m.
    Just a correction on the Pontiac Silverdome. Sod was NOT laid over turf. Grass was grown in approximately 12 inches of dirt in what we called pods. The pods were then placed side by side to create the field.

  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: June 11, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
    After watching the Seattle-Vancouver game on TV this past weekend, I have to agree that the pitch did not react like a grass field would normally. For the first part of the match, the game seemed almost slowed and laboured. In the second half it seemed the teams, Seattle in particular, modified their play to the conditions. For tonight's game, the team that can best adjust to the conditions should prevail.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 11, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.
    The condition of the pitch may be questionable, but it really doesn't matter. Good players adapt while others will use it as an excuse. What's troubling is that the USSF has not found natural turf venues which benefit the squad and have enough capacity in order to reap the profit.

  1. John Soares
    commented on: June 11, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.
    Of course the whitecaps complained.... they lost. Both teams, Sounders and Whitecaps play on turf at home. Both had to adjust. When you lose someone/something else must be to blame. No doubt tomorrow one team will blame the pitch.


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