With the Sounders playing the Timbers at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the Seahawks playing Tampa Bay at 1 p.m. Sunday, the Sounders say fans should be ready to see a soccer pitch with full NFL gridiron markings Saturday for the first time in club history.
"They should be prepared for a football field pretending to be a soccer field," general manager Adrian Hanauer said. "It’s the unfortunate reality of a two-professional-team stadium, with the timing. Probably could have avoided this had we done a little bit of a better job collecting points toward the end of the season. But it is what it is. It’s still going to be FieldTurf. It’s still going to be 114x74. It’s still going to have two goals, and 18-yard box and midfield stripes. So obviously we’ve had five years of doing a pretty good job of managing it and making sure that we don’t have football lines – just the one playoff game last year where we had some football lines. We’re not happy about it, but we’re going to have to make the best of it."
On whether is is a choice, or simply unavoidable given the timing and current technology: "The only way around it is creating massive risk for a nationally televised NFL game. And again, in the weigh/risk, I understand why this is where we’re at with the solution. Again, that said, we are going to continue to push to try to figure out ultimately over time whether there are technologies, work-force opportunities, creative solutions to never have this happen. But for now, it is what it is. … It is the paint not drying and the risk of bad weather causing even bigger problems."