Toronto coach criticizes CenturyLink turf

  • By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
  • Monday, March 10, 2014 8:50pm
  • SportsSports

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.

More in Sports

Former QB on Schottenheimer: ‘He’s a win-first’ OC

Kellen Clemens has had the new Seahawks’ play-caller as his coordinator for 7 of his 11 NFL seasons.

Lake Stevens girls show grit in 66-58 win over Glacier Peak

The Vikings rally from 13 down at half to take over sole possession of 1st place in Wesco 4A.

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Once again, a variety of local high school basketball players turned in… Continue reading

Bearcats pull away from Jackson in 79-67 win

Monroe’s Colby Kyle scores 24 points in his return from injury and Spencer Davidson tacks on 21.

Silvertips set to host pair of East Division powerhouses

Brandon and Swift Current make rare appearances in Everett this weekend.

‘Fear’ drives UWs Carter III back to the gym every single day

The freshman PG tries to get in 500 shots a day on his quest to be a success on the floor and in life.

LIST: 100-Season Club members and those in the vicinity

Here’s a list of local high school coaches who have coached 100 seasons, and those who are close.

Friday’s prep stars of the night

George Reidy, G, Cedar Park Christian Reidy, a senior, scored 38 of… Continue reading

Everett’s Stephan Erosa, left, competes against Arlington Brantly StupeyThursday night at Arlington High School in Arlington on January 18, 2018. The Eagles won 37-25.(Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Arlington wrestlers scrap to 37-25 win over Everett

Aggressive lineup moves pay off for the Eagles in a big Wesco 3A North win over the Seagulls.

Most Read