Although CenturyLink Field's temporary grass pitch may have looked reasonably good on TV and from a distance, the reviews were not so good from the sideline. Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal was critical of the playing surface following Friday's friendly against Club America, noting that it was unstable and even suggested he would have preferred to play on the FieldTurf beneath. Brown patches were also painted over prior to the match, giving the appearance of a healthier field than was probably accurate.
"The pitch was difficult," Van Gaal told the media in a post-match press conference. "Also, the first surface [underneath] is artificial and the grass is always moving. You saw a lot of players slipped. You can get more injuries, which is a concern."
Van Gaal did point out that the training facilities Manchester United used -- the Seattle Seahawks' Virginia Mason Athletic Center -- were effectively perfect. But that only seemed to underscore his frustrations, as he noted a One Direction concert was held on top of the grass pitch just a couple days before Friday's match.
"That is the difference in the US with American football stadiums, it is more important," Van Gaal said. "In England we have Old Trafford and it is only for football. It is not for entertaining. There is no One Direction. In England we live for football but in USA they live for American football and baseball."
While the frustrations of a former manager are one thing, in this case it is relevant to the Sounders. Barring some last-minute change of heart, the Sounders will be playing today's match on the same temporary surface.