U.S. Soccer responds to criticism of Alamodome turf ahead of USA-Mexico
SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Soccer Federation on Tuesday afternoon put to rest any lingering concerns about the Alamodome’s temporary grass field, confirming that Wednesday night’s sold-out friendly between the U.S. and Mexico will be played as scheduled.
Laying natural grass over an artificial surface never is ideal—the ball doesn’t bounce the same way, there can be seams in the sod and the grass doesn’t always come in evenly—but that's a price that often must be paid when staging internationals at large (and lucrative) venues. But the field became even more of an issue on Tuesday morning, as Mexico canceled its Alamodome training session and moved a few miles north to Trinity University. Then, Mexican website MedioTempo published a story claiming that the Mexican Football Federation was considering pulling out of the match if the safety of its players couldn’t be guaranteed.
According to a USSF spokesperson, FMF officials didn’t inspect the field on Tuesday until after the team decided not to train at the stadium. Installation of the temporary pitch began Saturday, and the extra day of work between Monday (when Mexico saw the field) and Tuesday apparently made a significant difference. The FMF gave it the OK later Tuesday and the U.S. trained as scheduled on the Alamodome's new surface early Tuesday evening.
Some 65,000 fans are expected to attend the game. It will be the U.S. national team’s first appearance in San Antonio.