It looks like there will be a new playing surface on Qwest Field in 2012, although the chances of it being grass are almost nil, according to comments Seattle Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer made to Don Ruiz of the News Tribune:
In the meantime, I think it’s highly likely that we will speed up the process and regularity with which we would change the synthetic. ... I think it’s highly likely that there will be a new field by next season."
This is not exactly earth-shattering news as grass never seemed to be a very realistic possibility, and these aren't so different from comments Hanauer made to Sounder at Heart back in April. Still, this is undoubtedly the most clear statement the Sounders have made about what lies ahead in terms of the playing surface at Qwest.
There has been considerable advancements in synthetic turf technology, something that is on obvious display at places like Jeld-Wen Field and Empire Field. There are also other synthetic options like Polytan that are being used all over the world.
While grass would have been a nice option, it was always an extreme longshot, especially once it became clear that installation might take up to eight months. At least the Sounders have acknowledged that Qwest's turf needs to be replaced and they are planning to do so quickly.