Should MLS begin to transition to all grass surfaces?

Discussion in 'MLS: Commissioner - You be The Don' started by GrimmFreak, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Baseball catchers used to play without masks. Players wanting to be safer than players a long time ago doesn't make current players whiners.
     
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  2. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is there evidence to support that masks increase the safety of catchers? One of the counter-intuitive points that I've seen related to adding protection to players is that it may actually decrease their safety because they will perform riskier actions thinking the protection will help them avoid injuries. I have no idea on masks, but considering the number of times I've seen catchers take a foul tip off the mask, I wouldn't be shocked if injury rates were decreased.

    Sidetrack completed, we're at the point where the evidence that turf increases injuries isn't supported by studies of the current generations of turf. There is certainly some evidence that it does for American football, but for soccer, most studies don't support increased rates of injuries. That isn't to say the athletes are "wrong" to have the feeling that turf increases their chances of injuries, but it isn't something that is supported by the studies that have been done over the years for soccer.
     
  3. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #53 Yoshou, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    Timbers’ twittersphere is atwitter about Merritt Paulson saying at a charity event today that the Timbers hope to replace Providence’s playing surface with grass by 2020.

     
  4. When Saturday Comes

    Apr 9, 2012
    Calgary
    Club:
    Toronto FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Love it.

    TFC GM Tim Bezbatchenko has told local reporters that BMO Field will have a Desso Grassmaster Hybrid Field installed at the end of the season. If I could learn how to attach a tweet I would.
     
  5. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    This, however, is replacing fully artificial turf with partially artificial turf. With a WCup final played on one, this may well become the norm, but is this considered a grass field for purposes of this thread, or simply more grass-ish.
     
  6. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Young Boys’ artificial pitch a distraction as United prepare to get campaign going
    • José Mourinho makes light of the handicap, citing Federer
    • Manchester United without Valencia but Rashford starts

    Mourinho used the example of Roger Federer to illustrate the requisite mindset his players must adopt. “We are in Switzerland, the home of one of the best ever tennis players, and I’m pretty sure that the big man sometimes is not happy to play on such a surface but he as to play and has to win,” he said. “He has a favourite surface but he has to win on the surfaces he is not in love with. We have to do it.”



    Rugby players get relatively few head injuries considering they don't wear helmets. A strict interpretation of the high tackle law helps.
     
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  7. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Getting back to the thread topic...

    When Gillette Field first opened, it had a grass field. It turns out that the architects made a mistake with how they oriented the stadium with respect to the sun. Because of the shape and orientation of the stadium, it's not possible to get enough sunlight on the field starting in about August to do any sort of growth.

    Kraft replaced the grass field with FieldTurf in about 2005. The Revs players were actually happy because the previous grass field was always a mess of lumps and ruts by late August or earlier. The turf was fast but at least it was consistent. The soccer games on the grass field were often messy, sloppy, gritty affairs because neither team could pass on the ground due to nobody knowing where the ball would end up due to all the lumps.

    For Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, it would be difficult to keep a grass field due to the nearly non-stop rain and clouds. Playing a game in a downpour tears up a grass field. The field then needs time to dry out and for the grass to re-grow. Then hopefully the next game is not in another downpour. The Oceanic Climate of the Pacific Northwest works against you.

    For Atlanta, a grass field isn't feasible because their stadium doesn't allow for enough direct sunlight on the field. It is also shared with an NFL team and we all know how much gridiron football destroys fields.

    All the MLS teams that don't share with a gridiron team have grass except Portland. If their owner is willing to pay the cost of maintaining grass, more power to him.
     
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  8. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's also important to note that not all artificial turf is the same. In addition to the turf product itself, you can really change how the field plays by what you put underneath the surface. Portland has a pad underneath the field that gives it a softer feel and slows the ball down. Hence why it's the best non-grass surface. The gridiron teams prefer a firmer, faster field so there is often only sand under the turf. Makes for a faster surface like a Gillette Stadium or BC Place.
     
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  9. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    It's also worth noting that even grass fields are more and more often actually hybrid fields. That's what Portland is putting in, right? That's what the World Cup was played on, without complaints that I can recall. On a hybrid surface, you can play even if all the natural grass is dead, though it's better if the real grass is alive. With the advances we've had since the beginnings of artificial turf, I'm not sure the argument is as simple as grass v turf.
    Maybe all healthy grass > hybrid with living grass > hybrid with dead or dormant grass = field turf with soft bed > unhealthy grass field > field turf with hard bed > old school artificial turf = asphalt painted green.
     
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  10. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good job pointing out the nuances of soccer field quality. Most "hybrid" fields are functionally grass fields. The players regard them as grass. The fans regard them as grass. Nobody would know that there are synthetic fibers mixed in if they aren't told. The synthetic fibers are sparse enough so they don't affect how it feels to the players or how the ball rolls/bounces. The fibers only act to decrease divots and lumps.

    I also think that players would prefer a fast modern artificial field over a lumpy grass field. The latter makes it nearly impossible to pass on the ground and also causes ankle problems. That was the case with the 2005 Revs at least.
     
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  11. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Portland’s Providence Park and Seattle’s CenturyLink Field both have Revolution 360 turf and infill systems laid in 2016. Each sits on top of a permanent elastic layer that serves as a shock pad for added comfort.

    New England’s Gillette Stadium, which has had FieldTurf since 2006, added a new Revolution 360 turf in May 2017, but it did so over a slightly different pad system. Atlanta will install the Revolution 360 surface with the same pad as New England, while Vancouver’s pad mimics the one found in Portland and Seattle.

    In Vancouver, PolyTan uses an irregularly shaped infill product to better mimic naturally-grown materials while allowing water to adhere to the granules and fiber.


    Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/feat...-portland-providence-park#ZxDcZWttcaBsJMtS.99

    Merritt Paulson says that hosting non-soccer events damages the turf and packs it down making it harder.

    Even with arguably the best turf in the land, the Timbers still train almost exclusively on natural grass and Paulson says they never rule out the eventuality of switching to natural grass in Providence Park. “There may be a time we are a natural-grass stadium,” he says, “but in the meantime, we will have the best turf field of any MLS stadium.”

    Read more at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/feat...-portland-providence-park#ZxDcZWttcaBsJMtS.99
     
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  12. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member+

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Grass can work in Portland, it has always been possible yet challenging and likely expensive. But as mentioned with the situation in Gillette, there isn't enough sunlight to guarantee it will be a useful playing surface. There will certainly be even less sunlight with the new expansion project in Portland.

    Again, this is not saying that grass cannot happen in Portland, it just doesn't because it is a city-owned facility and still has to hold up after many different events. Weather isn't the biggest issue in Portland because the regular season is March to October. The wettest months with the least amount of sunlight are outside those months. June-September can be downright dry with minimal periods of rain. (Side bar, length/days with rain/clouds is why grass fields in the PNW can be difficult as the duration of rain can make grass difficult to grow and repair. Consistently wet grass and lack of direct sunlight because of cloud cover will not grow grass quickly.)

    First, Paulson has asked the city about their thoughts on going to grass. The heavy implication is PSU football is on its way out. Second, there have been a lot of soccer games (42) this year at Providence Park.

    Last little tidbit. Grass hasn't been in that stadium since the 1960s. It was one of the first outdoor artificial turf stadiums in the country when installed. I did a few youth soccer practices on it before the 2000 remodel and back then it was still carpet on concrete.

    [Edit: before anyone mentions grow lights. Where would you suggest they store them in Providence Park?]
     
  13. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They now have dual purpose stadium lights that can act as lighting for events, but also have a component that allows them to be used as grow lights. While certainly not as good as the sun, it would resolve the issue of storage. I believe this is what Red Bull Arena uses.

    They could also have offsite storage for the grow lights and then truck them in. Obviously additional cost.
     
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  14. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Grow lights won't stop this.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, if they're hot enough they can boil all that water off :D
     
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  16. Apart from the lumpy stuff in the Netherlands the professional players want the art. turf out. So no, your observation, at least for the Netherlands, is wrong.
     
  17. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, for whatever reason, soccer players associate artificial turf with injuries. Field hockey players seem to do just fine.

    Plus the same brand of artificial turf can be set up very differently, depending how it's installed, resulting in completely different behavior (home advantage), whereas modern professional grass or hybrid pitches tend to be pretty consistent.

    I prefer grass but these guys should seriously consider synthetic turf:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. fairfax4dc

    fairfax4dc Member+

    Dec 5, 2008
    Fairfax, Va
    I think it's important that our Pacific Northwest brethren need to come down on on one side or the other. Either artifical turf is just as good (or better) than grass, or it's a functional but inferior substitute. Can't have it both ways, Portland fans.
     
  19. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member+

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    False dichotomy. There is a variation of grass playing surfaces: Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial rye grass, or Bermuda grass. How aerated is it? Is there sand infill? The length of the grass? How often is it watered? Sunlight exposure and drying out is essential for grass growth in the late fall and early spring. Grass surfaces can be inferior due to a variety of factors.

    Since the choice is false, we can have it both ways.
     
  20. At Wembley?:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
    They better kick that nfl out.
    Wonder which team in the CL match is having the most disadvantage of it, Totally Hotshits or PSV. My guess is the homers, as this pitch could slow their game down.
     
  21. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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  22. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member+

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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  23. Cavan9

    Cavan9 Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Silver Spring, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Reading comprehension fail. Let's try this again:

    Grass is better than turf, which is better than lumpy, poorly maintained grass.

    The New England Revolution had lumpy, ankle turning grass back in 2005. Gillette stadium is angled in such a way that the field doesn't get enough sunlight. The NFL team also destroyed the grass starting in August. Turf was an improvement in that specific situation. Other MLS teams share fields with football teams. Football destroys grass fields. For that reason, it's reasonable to have turf when sharing with football.
     
  24. adam tash

    adam tash Member+

    Jul 12, 2013
    1. reasonable and ideal and even acceptable are different matters.

    2. imagine an NFL team taking an MLS team's needs into consideration when choosing a field surface. can you? i can't. so then why should it be acceptable for an MLS team to do the reverse? why must MLS be the "bottom b**ch" in NFL-MLS relationships?

    3. MLS should divorce itself from the NFL and foreign soccer clubs. MLS needs to put MLS first. MLS' goal should be to be the #1 Sport's league in the USA and #1 soccer league in the world. I realize that it was a perhaps necessary evil to get the league off the ground as NFL owners were basically the initial founders of the league - and that having a commish like Garber certainly doesn't help in this regard. I still think it is a huge strategic blunder to allow NFL/manchester city/etc into ownership positions in MLS...MLS is always going to be the little stepsister for these owners.

    4. the Revs not having a soccer specific stadium by this point is an embarrassment on robber kraft. MLS should give him a deadline to get a stadium done or he has to sell the Revs. what the patriots do should be 100% irrelevant to what the revs do - instead of the current situation: the revs must adjust everything they do to fit with whatever the patriots do.

    5. there should be a deadline for NYCFC and Atlanta too...ane every other MLS team at this point: soccer specific grass fields or not in MLS. now that MLS is selling players for 20+ million dollars and franchises are going for 300+million ...there is no excuse any longer about $$$ or lack thereof.

    6. be a destination league for world footballers. there's a signifcant and justified segment of world footballers who will not play on turf....be a world league. go to 100% grass. there's no excuse.
     
  25. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Portland and Vancouver play in municipally owned multi-sport stadiums just like most teams in France and Italy, including PSG and AC Milan.

    Centurylink Field is State owned but yes, it's basically a NFL stadium.

    But Seattle and Atlanta are arguably our most popular teams and the MLS teams' needs have been taken into account in determining the type of surface and frequency of replacement.

    3 Premier League teams are owned by NFL owners. NHL and MLB are also represented in the Premier League. I'm not sure it's doing the league any harm but Arsenal and Fulham fans may disagree.

    I'd prefer grass but American kids grow up playing on artificial turf, and I'm sure most colleges use artificial turf, but you don't see American players retiring at 28 or 29 years-old because they played most of their soccer on plastic.

    MLS is not a destination league and won't be for many years. It's biggest challenge isn't artificial pitches or money, it's that MLS teams don't take part in the UCL.
     
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