The turf at Gillette Stadium gets a lot of negative attention. Many players have complained about the surface while some have flat out refused to play on it. For New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira, it’s not much of an issue.
When NYCFC took the field on Wednesday night, it was a bit surprising to see that Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Frank Lampard would all be starting. These players, the youngest of which is 34, are some of the league’s most recognizable names and there was chatter that some, if not all, would be rested, especially during this busy stretch. However, the idea never really crossed Vieira’s mind.
"I think the only question I asked them was how they were feeling after the [New York] Red Bull game and every one of them was feeling good," Vieira noted. "They wanted to play. We are in a really good period and there wasn’t any doubt in our mind about astro grass."
While the turf didn’t impact Vieira’s lineup choices, it did seem to affect the play on the field. The surface was recently upgraded, with FieldTurf Revolution 360 (2.5") being installed. From the looks of things, players might need a little more time to get used to the new turf.
"I guess it’s something that once it gets a little more worn in it will be a little bit better," Tommy McNamara said. "I just thought that it was heavy. There were a lot of rubber beads in it and it was moving a little bit."
Like his coach, McNamara wasn’t about to make any excuses. That said, he expects the turf will play a bit different when he returns to Gillette Stadium on Sept. 10.
"It is what it is," McNamara said. "They were playing on the field, too. It is just part of the league. I think that when more matches are played on it, it will get a little more worn down and pick up and be a little bit better."