Sporting Kansas City is playing pretty good soccer in its first season at Livestrong Sporting Park. Currently the team is in second place in the Eastern Conference, just three points behind the Columbus Crew, and the stadium is gathering great reviews for both soccer games and as a concert venue. Er, mostly.
The stadium wasn't finished at the start of the MLS season, so the team went on a marathon road stand to start the season. That meant that the team has spent much of the last two and a half months playing games on its home turf. Throw in the Farm Aid and the Buzz Beach Ball concerts, a few U.S. Open games and exhibition matches and a brutally hot summer on the newly laid pitch, and it's a recipe for divots. The field is in dreadful condition, and it earned a bit of a bad rap after last Monday's game against Western Conference juggernaut the L.A. Galaxy. Just take a look at the photo above.
Galaxy manager Bruce Arena told MLSSoccer.com that he liked the stadium but didn't care for the grass. "It’s a shame that the field is in the shape it’s in. Obviously, it’s challenging with the climate here. You have extreme heat at times and some cold. It is hard to manage the turf the right way, and obviously when you do other events on the field, the field takes a beating," he said.
Sporting KC president didn't like what he saw on the field, either. So he took to Twitter to answer questions from fans and critics about how everything could go so well for LSP except for, well, the grass. It was a surprisingly constructive exchange. The problem, as you'll see in his answers below, is that the field didn't have enough time to grow strong enough roots. And it sounds like the U.S. Women's National Team will be playing on divots next week.