Any grass is good for MetroStars
It's thick and long and wet. But as far as the MetroStars are concerned, the grass they practiced on Monday morning at Giants Stadium is a beautiful thing.
"I'd always rather play on grass, even if it's not a nice, level surface," Eddie Gaven said. "I'd still rather play on grass than on turf."
The MetroStars will have that luxury when they take on Chicago because of the international friendly between England and Colombia, which kicks off at 4 p.m. ET.
The MetroStars players had their first chance to walk on the newly shipped-in sod Monday morning in a light 90-minute practice.
After all four teams trained on the grass Monday, it was watered, cut and rolled over and should be in great shape for a doubleheader expected to draw about 50,000 fans Tuesday.
"It's not the best grass in the world," Youri Djorkaeff said. "But it's great."
The Metros will also get the opportunity to play on natural grass June 12 against D.C. United, the day after Italy faces Ecuador in a friendly, and July 27 against Dallas, following the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals and finals the previous week.
"Earlier in the year we played at Soldier Field and beat Chicago 3-0," Michael Bradley said of the May 14 encounter. "That field wasn't in the best of conditions but ... compared to FieldTurf, any grass field is good to play on."
Tuesday's game against Chicago is the final game of a grueling three-games-in-seven-days stretch for the Metros. They're coming off a 3-0 win at Columbus, improving their road record to 3-1. The Metros have outscored opponents 9-2 away from Giants Stadium.
At the Meadowlands, though, it's been a different story. The Metros are still searching for their first home win after going 0-2-3 in their first five games on the turf at Giants Stadium.
"Home and away, I think we play the same way," Metros defender Chris Leitch said. "We love playing at home and we try and make this place a special place. Honestly we don't have a different mentality when we play on the road, it's just that we haven't got the breaks at home yet."
Perhaps a change in playing surface will bring about a change of fortune for the MetroStars (3-3-3), who moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference Saturday night.
And if the club gets their first win, will they lobby to have the remainder of their home games on natural grass?
"Believe me, we're lobbying anyway," Michael Bradley said.
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.