Toronto FC was off in week one. Jermaine Defoe is reportedly healthy and ready to play, but Ryan Nelsen may not play his full roster due to the quality of turf in Seattle. Sounders FC are used to this by now. Henry and Beckham regularly skipped matches due to their fear - it cost their clubs games.
Nelsen's statement is a bit more nuanced than "all artificial surfaces are bad."
Ryan Nelsen says Seattle pitch may be factor in team selection for opener "It's not just an artificial field, it's a bad artificial field."— Luke Wileman (@LukeWileman) March 10, 2014
And that may be true. It is not as good as Portland's turf. It is better than Vancouver's or New England's surface.
Heard more people whispering re CLink's surface last yr when I was writing more re turf. It's not Vancouver, but it's also not Portland #MLS— Richard Farley (@richardfarley) March 10, 2014
There's some nuance in the debate about the surface here. Just eight days into March the area got as much rain as it would in a full month. Grass fields throughout the area were bogged down and then tore apart when players made cut moves on them.
The current surface is not the worst Seattle's seen. That "award" goes to the end of 2011. It needs to be replaced as soon as possible. How soon that is is up to question. There may be enough time over the World Cup break, but no word from the club that this will be happening.
Toronto based reporter points something out about the turf concerns that is often ignored. The safety concerns are greatly overblown.
Here's why I don't buy the turf argument. Martins, Dempsey play on it regularly. If TFC's DPs are close to 100%, they need to play.— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) March 10, 2014
Sigi Schmid is not going to put out a weaker squad just because TFC thinks it needs to do so. In fact it is likely to be the first time that he deploys his Ideal XI in their 2014 tactical system. If Seattle is going up against the Reds without Defoe and Bradley they should be heavily favored.
That's probably OK for those in Rave Green.