KANSAS CITY — Everyone knew Saturday’s temperatures would be hopelessly uncomfortable, but the field was supposed to be OK, wasn’t it?
Perhaps we were a little naïve to believe Sporting Park’s surface could withstand sustained temperatures in the teens and lows 20s and still be playable, although Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes had assured everyone that would be the case.
In the end, the facility’s underground heating element was badly over-matched, and big portions of the field were indeed frozen.
SKC manager Peter Vermes said called the conditions “tough” on both sides, not just the field but the temperatures. Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis was a little tougher on it, although he never complained that it gave either team an edge.
“Whatever kind of system they’ve got, they need to look into revising it, making it better,” Kreis said. “The far side of the field was frozen for the entire match, the goal box down closest to Sporting Kansas City’s bench was completely frozen, making things difficult for both goalkeepers.”
He said the conditions contributed to a “hectic” start for both sides, and that it was “panic stations” for a while.
“Those circumstances are not ideal for soccer, at all,” Kreis said later in his post-game comments. “I’m glad we didn’t see more injuries. I think it’s something not only this club but all of us have to address if we are going to have finals in December we need to have better heating systems.”