Here’s some of what Tacoma Rainiers president Aaron Artman and some Sounders had to say about Cheney Stadium’s conversion to a soccer pitch today, as a crowd of 2,174 watched Orlando City of USL Pro beat the Sounders Reserves, 2-0.
On the logistics of the conversion: We had great weather, so it made it a lot easier. I don’t think our grounds crew is in love with this concept at all, but they did a good job. It looks good. It’s funny, when I first walked in I had to take a while to figure out where the actual infield was out there. So logistically – I haven’t been on the field, I don’t know what the technical side from the Sounders have to say – but it seems to be holding up pretty well, and it’s really cool. It’s neat to see this transformed into a soccer field, and in a way that brings the action as close as it does.
On the game experience: I think, too, Mother’s Day probably cost us an extra thousand people. Bart Wiley said his wife made a comment, ‘Clearly no moms were involving in this planning.” … But that’s not bad. That’s not bad for a first time doing it. It’s fun to see it live as well. It’s still cool. It’s one of those things you can always say you were at. People seem to be liking it. You see the guys with the flags and all. It’s fun.
I’m pretty pleased with how it is. I think it’s just fun. I think it’s one of those things where until you get out here no one knows what it will really be like, and it seems like the people who are out here are having fun. We hope they are.
Reserves coach Ezra Hendrickson:
I know some guys mentioned it before. We walked the field before, and it wasn’t ideal. At the end of the day, they were playing on the same pitch that we were playing on today.
Sounders midfielder Shalrie Joseph:
The pitch didn’t help us. It was a little bit small in size and we couldn’t really play. But give them their credit. They came in here and got the early goal.