I have arrived in Toronto, where the Sounders will meet TFC at 4 p.m. Saturday.
I've always been struck by how much the Reds and Sounders have in common -- particular their urban stadiums and passionate fan bases. And I'll write more about that here and in the paper over the next 24 hours. (Meanwhile, here is a very good USA Today story on soccer in the Pacific Northwest. And I believe much of what applies for the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps also applies for Toronto.)
However, there is one way that Toronto has led and Seattle has not yet followed -- replacing their artificial surface with natural grass.
So, in addition to other topics, I asked general manager Adrian Hanauer this week if that might also be in the Sounders' future at Qwest.
"We’ve collected our first bit of information, which is a very time-challenging process," he said. "(Conversion to grass) is sort of an eight-month process, which doesn’t work for us. I mean, the Seahawks aren’t going to move somewhere else for their season, and we don’t want to move somewhere else for ours. So now we’re trying to look into whether there are ways to transition it over a period of time. The other issue is clearly when UW moves into Qwest for (the 2011 Apple Cup and all of 2012). So I don’t think this is going to be a quick fix. But we are going to continue to figure out if there is an alternative to the synthetic. In the meantime, I think it’s highly likely that we will speed up the process and regularity with which we would change the synthetic. ... I think it’s highly likely that there will be a new field by next season."