Not The Same Old BMO Field

Not The Same Old BMO Field

Freddie Ljungberg scores his first MLS goal on the FieldTurf of BMO Field in Toronto. When the Sounders FC face Toronto FC on Sunday, it will be on a new natural grass surface.

TORONTO -- BMO Field in Toronto will host the 2010 MLS Cup final in November.  However, it won’t be the same BMO Field where the Sounders FC topped Toronto FC 2-0 last April.

This offseason, the stadium was expanded from 20,500 seats to its new capacity of 21,800.  Most noticeably though, was the change from FieldTurf to natural grass.

“I know they’ve been wanting this for a couple of years and now they finally got it,” said Sounders FC defender Tyrone Marshall, who played for Toronto FC in 2007 and 2008 before a trade to Seattle.  “Hopefully it makes the playing conditions very good and we can have a good game tomorrow.”

Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg noticed the greatest difference in dead-ball situations in training Saturday.

“It’s a massive difference.  When you hit corners and free kicks - this sounds weird - the ball flies differently,” Ljungberg said.  “To be honest their turf was quite bad, so this makes a big difference.”

The Kentucky Bluegrass was installed at the beginning of April, leaving much room for improvement though.

“It still probably isn’t as good as it’s going to be.  It’s still a little bit rough and a little bit hard underneath, but it’s certainly good and it’s an improvement over what they had before,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said.

Added Marshall, “It’s still hard as a rock, but it’s good to play on grass.”

Another addition was dugouts for the two benches, leaving the seats three feet below field level.

“I’m usually low enough.  That’ll put me even lower,” Schmid laughed.  “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to see the far side of the field.”

The Sounders FC and Toronto FC kickoff at 11 am Pacific Time.  The game will be televised live on KING 5 in Seattle.

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