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New turf at CenturyLink passes muster in my book

Fredy Montero, David Estrada, Alvaro Fernandez

Seattle Sounders FC’s David Estrada, second from left, celebrates his goal with Fredy Montero left, Alvaro Fernandez, right, and Brad Evans, second from right, in the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal soccer match against Santos Laguna, Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


I watched last night’s Galaxy-Toronto FC match pretty intently, leaning in close to give it the three-star analysis treatment. As I would describe that one as “an interesting mess of a game,” it wasn’t hard to stay into it.

Then came time to watch my DVR-ed Seattle Sounders-Santos contest. I saw enough to know what was going on. For instance, I noticed that one Edward “Eddie” Johnson looked bright and even dangerous in some moments; I filed that one away into the ol’ noggin for later recall.

But if I’m being honest, that one didn’t get the same three-star “going over.” It was already well into the wee smalls when I pressed “play” on that one. I was sleepy and stuffed like a cheap sofa, extra groggy from too much steak and rich food. (We were raising a glass to the new gig at Al Biernat’s. Will Ferrell was in the next booth over. Good times.)

So I can’t pretend to have too many insightful observations about this one. I’ll leave that up to the talented Jeremiah Oshan and his army of bright commenters over at Sounder At Heart. BUT …

I did notice one thing right away that gives me some hope for upcoming matches at CenturyLink Field. The new artificial turf, recently seated inside the park, seemed to play quite nicely. Much better, I’d say, than other versions of FieldTurf.

(Funny thing about FieldTurf and other variations of plastic pitch: Everyone wants to tell you they have the “proper” version. Everyone says their type of arty turf is better than the other guy’s arty turf. But we can all do the math here, right? Somebody’s version is on the bottom of the turf chain.)

Bottom line here is that both teams seemed able to control the ball reliably. That was a trickier proposition previously inside the Sounders FC ground of ample green. And, again, we sure saw how a bad turf can hamstring a match in Wednesday’s just-barely-watchable cavalcade of turnovers in Toronto.

The Sounders will be good in 2012, and now it seems the chances have increased that matches at CenturyLink will be more dependably entertaining. That’s a darn good thing – especially for someone like me, who tries his dead-level best to watch every MLS match.