BRONX, N.Y. — It’s been the butt of jokes around Major League Soccer since New York City FC joined the league in 2015. But the talk after NYCFC’s 0-0 draw against the Montreal Impact Saturday afternoon wasn’t about Yankee Stadium’s tight confines.
It was about the pitch that Impact coach Remi Garde labeled as “dangerous.”
Always a source of consternation among visiting teams, the sod laid down over in the infield dirt has never been worse than it was Saturday afternoon.
“The physical integrity of the players should be the main concern for everyone in this league,” Garde said. “To be honest, it’s dangerous. It’s not the best place to play good football, but obviously it’s a worse place to play in terms of injuries. This is something that annoys me.”
The surface was dry and came up in massive clumps at several moments of the first half. In fact, while the ball was in play on the other end, a member of the Yankee Stadium grounds crew raced out to replace a few divots.
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“It was really hard,” Impact midfielder Samuel Piette said. “We played on two pitches today, the part where it was really dry and when there was a tackle the field would lift up right away and we actually need time to put it back to normal.”
NYCFC players also recognized the poor condition of the infield sod, but chose not to use it as an excuse for their inability to score a goal.
“The pitch was terrible, but it is same for both teams,” fullback Anton Tinnerholm said. “So I’m not gonna blame the pitch today. Because it’s not the pitch’s fault we didn’t score goals. The pitch was [crap], but for everyone it was the same.”
NYCFC captain Alex Ring slipped on the surface in the first half, resulting in an ankle that was still swollen in the locker room after the game.
“I can complain about the pitch, but it happens after 30 minutes and you play the whole game with a sore ankle,” Ring said. “It’s not the best.”