Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sporting Park's Surface

With the Flatlands Music Festival over at Sporting Park, the surface covering is off the playing surface and preparations are being made for Tuesday's Champions' League game against Real Esteli. With just that by itself questions would be asked of how exactly the surface will stand up after the concert. But the questions about the way the playing surface has held up has been a question for much longer than that. The questions really started to pick up after the Colorado game when the surface started to come apart a bit more during the game when players would make cuts or moves on the field.

It got worse during the game last weekend against Columbus. So bad in fact, that Columbus blamed three muscle injuries some of their players suffered on the poor surface at Sporting Park. The surface even prompted a response from Robb Heineman after the game.

Heineman's comment though just brought more questions from fans. Mainly fans were asking why in a city where for three months of the season the average low temperature is above 62 degrees they were having a problem with the surface that requires the temperature to be below 62. I understand that it's hard to get grass to grow in the 90 degree heat of the summer that we've had the last couple weeks, but that's been the exception this summer. For the most part this has been a fairly cool summer in KC, it hasn't been deathly hot for a very large period of time, and there had been decent rainfall. Unlike last year when KC had a number of +100 days and a long period of time without rain.  Last year the surface held up better than this year with all those heat issues.

This is the second time in the short three year history of the stadium that the field has been a problem. In the stadium's first year everyone blamed it on the condensed home schedule that Sporting was playing and the field not getting enough time to really let the roots take hold. But this year there really isn't much of an excuse, at least in my mind for why the surface is in such poor shape. And this is the same team that back in 2009 had their grounds crew win the award for the "field of the year."

With the World Cup qualifier less than a month away, KC will want to get the field situation taken care of before the US team gets here. You don't want the attention for the game being more paid to the field surface than the play or the atmosphere. And you don't want to potentially piss off a number of US fans by having a player like Michael Bradley hurt his ankle, possibly more seriously and put the player's World Cup in doubt.

I have faith that they'll get the field situation straightened out quickly, but this is becoming a bad habit. All the bells and whistles in and around the stadium won't mean much if the field is a piece of crap. Maybe Heineman should really consider getting that Sporting blue turf he keeps trolling fans with.

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