CHESTER, Pa. – PPL Park can handle the snow.
That’s the message from Philadelphia Union head groundskeeper John Torres as weather forecasts predict a full day of rain and up to two to four inches of snow on Saturday, the eve of the Eastern Conference Semifinal first leg between the Houston Dynamo and Union (5 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“We’ve had two inches in an hour of rain and that happened during a game,” Torres said on Friday. “The field held up fine. We have a good roots system and I’m confident the field will be great.”
With less than one inch of snowfall, Torres would expect that thin film to melt away by gameday. If two to four inches of snow accumulate on the PPL Park field, the tractor will come out. Covering the field with a tarp has not been a consideration because of challenges in securing manpower resources.
“Right now, the plan is that we’re going to have our tractor ready with the front end and plow any snow that’s on there,” Torres said about the contingency plan.
Torres will be observing the weather conditions at PPL Park all day on Saturday, ready to execute on his plan.
“Even if it was raining Sunday morning, I’d still be confident the field will hold up,” Arena said. “It’s a 100 percent sand-based field. And so when we get water, it’s quickly drained. As long as there is no standing water, we’ll be fine.”