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The artificial turf field worked fine in Portland last night, eh?

Jul 10, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT

Belize v United States - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Getty Images

I just cannot help but to pick this scab. I will probably regret this, but here goes …

Can we talk just for a minute about the surface last night in Portland for the U.S. match? Because in all honestly, the silence was deafening.

Remember how topical the surface was a couple of weeks ago in Seattle when the United States played on the temporary grass field at CenturyLink? It was topical because, frankly, it was bad. And because with just a little bad luck, it could have been colossally bad, a real fiasco.

I said at the time that Seattle would be a wonderful place for a U.S. match, and the soccer supporters of Seattle represented themselves beautifully. The bigger point was this: if U.S. Soccer wants to stage a game in the deserving Pacific Northwest, fine – just play the doggone games on artificial turf already! The faux fields may be imperfect, but they generally do the job so much better than the pricey and dicey temporary surfaces.

Seriously, why spend around $200,000 to install a surface that creates more issues than it solves?

No one was talking about the turf last night at Jeld-Wen Field. Why not? Because there was nothing to say. The surface there is fine – not perfect, because it’s not grass, but perfectly adequate and unarguably predictable.

ProSoccerTalk’s Richard Farley was there last night, talking to players and coaches after the final whistle, and said it only seemed to affect matters in the protective stances on Herculez Gomez and Stuart Holden, both of whom could surely and would surely have played had the opponent resembled anything greater than a bunch of local amateurs gathered for an 11 on 11 morning practice.

The artificial surfaces have improved greatly, as most of us know. Still, old attitudes die hard, don’t they?

  1. geojock - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    That’s the question. The surface clearly had an impact on which players played but, like you said, the opponent played a role too. Maybe someone should ask Stu this morning how his knee feels?

  2. djrrockthepitch - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I remember my high school years when artificial surfaces were few and far between. All we looked forward to, whether it was soccer, football or baseball, was that one game on the schedule at the one school with the artificial turf… and if we were luck they also had lights and it was a night game. Anyway, doesn’t really add anything to this story…. but this does….

    I have mixed feelings on this topic… While the artificial surface may be vastly improved since my high school days, and is ‘predictable and true’, there is still an impact to the body that doesn’t exist on natural surfaces. With the proliferation of artificial surfaces here in the northeast, artificial turf has become the primary surface for our young developing players. I have noticed that when exposed to artificial turf over an extended period of time (ie: weekend tournaments, camps, etc…), my daughter and many of her friends all complain about ankle and heal pain. I can only imagine the impact the artificial surface would have on world class athletes going hard for 90 minutes. Then again, that temporary surface in Seattle was a mess and I felt like a blown knee by full time was a given…

  3. Dan Haug - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Before you beat the drum too loudly, you may want to look at Klinsmann’s comments about why he didn’t start Onyewu and Gomez, and only played Holden for 45 minutes.

    Spoiler alert!! It was because of the turf. How can you say it’s fine when you have three impact players missing minutes because of the wear and tear it creates on their bodies?

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

    • mlsconvert88888 - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      So prior to the game Klinsmann had a bias about turf fields, and sat players because of it.
      How does that change that fact that it was a non issue last night?

      • brunotheaffablecynic - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:28 AM

        Yep, when Klinsmann played turf was a thousand worse than now so he still has some pre-conceived notions. The turf nowadays is fine, the fields in Portland and Seattle especially so…

  4. rhaaland - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the prohibition against artificial turf was a FIFA WCQ mandated rule, not a USSF rule.

  5. charliej11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Turf is for NW tough players, don’t expect bloggers to understand.

    Djrrockthepitch had it right, the NW kids look forward to the turf games the most. True bounces, rolls and perfect field.

  6. awad2251 - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Too many people are bringing up old memories of carpets rolled onto concrete when they say artificial fields. Technology for these fields have improved vastly.

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