The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


Sports headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 1:00 a.m.

Toronto coach criticizes CenturyLink turf

  • The Sounders’ Lamar Neagle battles Kansas City’s Josh Gardner (left) and Benny Feilhaber (right) for the ball during Saturday’s game at CenturyLink Fi...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    The Sounders’ Lamar Neagle battles Kansas City’s Josh Gardner (left) and Benny Feilhaber (right) for the ball during Saturday’s game at CenturyLink Field.

Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen said Monday that the FieldTurf surface at CenturyLink Field is bad enough that it could influence his lineup Saturday when his club plays the Sounders in Seattle.
The surface “is not only an artificial turf, but a bad artificial turf,” Nelsen said, adding that a game on it “is like playing one-and-a-half (or) one-and-three-quarters games, in terms of damage to your body.”
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid last week conceded that the third-season field isn’t as good as it was in its second year, just as it wasn’t as good then as it was when it was new.
When told of Nelsen’s remarks Monday, Schmid didn’t so much defend artificial turf as dispute the notion that CenturyLink’s is worse than the others.
“There’s no good turf field in this league,” he said. “... Vancouver’s, ours and Portland, and for that matter New England, are all (about the same age), and it’s not like one is better than the other. So I don’t disagree necessarily with Ryan’s statement. I’d love to have a brand-new turf this year, as would everybody else. I disagree with the point of making it seem like Seattle’s is worse than the others.”
(Portland actually is playing on a new surface this season at newly renamed Providence Park).
Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said before the season that the club decided to retain the current field because it was judged still satisfactory for Major League Soccer competition.
Nelson linking field conditions to his lineup decision has added significance this season because Toronto made two of the biggest off-season signings in MLS, brining in U.S. national team midfielder Michael Bradley and English forward Jermain Defoe. Their potential absence Saturday could disappoint fans, while giving the Sounders a competitive advantage.
And while Schmid did not directly agree that artificial turf is more dangerous than natural grass, he did concede that playing on it takes more of a toll.
“A good grass field is the ideal,” Schmid said. “A good turf field is not more dangerous than a bad grass field, necessarily. It takes more out of your body: I’m not going to disagree with that, it does take more out of your body. That’s why we train a lot on grass and we try to avoid training on turf.”
Health considerations aside, most also believe artificial surfaces change the pace of the game because the ball rolls faster and bounces higher.
“You have to adapt to the turf, for sure,” newly acquired Seattle midfielder Marco Pappa said after his first match on his new home field. “The first touch you have to make with the ball is a little bit different.”
The Sounders and NFL Seahawks have said that the structure of CenturyLink Field casts shadows on the playing surface that probably prevent a grass field from ever being an option.
Added time
Forward Darwin Jones had a hat trick Sunday as the Washington Huskies beat a team of Sounders reserves 4-3 in a friendly on the University of Washington campus. “It was a good run out for our guys,” Schmid said. “It was important that they play. I think UW played very well ... and obviously (Jones’ speed) burned us a few times.” First-team candidates such as Leo Gonzalez, Andy Rose Jalil Anibaba and Zack Scott went 90 minutes for the Sounders. Marcus Hahnemann went the whole way in goal. ... Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was held out of training Monday to rest a sore knee he had bumped in the season-opening 1-0 win over Kansas City on Saturday. Schmid said the issue is minor.
Story tags » Sounders FC

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.



HeraldNet highlights

Lofty potential for drones
Lofty potential for drones: Aircraft could be used in real estate, other businesses
A community of kindness
A community of kindness: Seahawks home a display of affection for couple's daughter
Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (7 new photos)
Super snacks
Super snacks: Best finger-food recipes to make for the big game
SnoCoSocial