HOUSTON – While the Houston Dynamo are in Southern California preparing for the upcoming season, the crews working at BBVA Compass have started work on the actual field they will play on back at home in May.
Workmen began installing the sod and grass at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday, the start of a four-day process that’s a real indicator momentum continues to grow ahead of the May 12 home opener against D.C. United.
“To see the grass coming in and seeing the seats come in, it’s just a sure sign of how close we are to this thing becoming a reality,” Dynamo chief operating officer Chris Canetti said. “We’re right on schedule here for May 12. Manhattan Construction will turn the stadium over to us on May 5. Everyone’s working hard to make sure that happens.”
With the actual field taking shape, the seats where the fans will watch the action are starting to come together as well. As of Tuesday, crews had completed installation on two sections in the upper bowl of the stadium, which will seat more than 22,000 fans.
The grass at BBVA Compass Stadium, meanwhile, is being installed at the same time of year the grass at the club’s training facility was laid last year. By May, the grass had “taken” and was ready for game action.
With that as his barometer, Canetti is expecting the grass in the new stadium be in fine condition by the home opener.
As the colors of BBVA Compass Stadium come to life, the work on the interior of stadium has made steady progress as well, as locker rooms, suites and concession stands are also near completion.
With that progress, the club is starting to plan for being able to hit the ground running once the stadium opens. To ensure that they are ready for game day, Canetti told the media that the club will hold a dry run May 10 involving the Dynamo Academy for season-ticket holders.
“It’s a great chance to open up the stadium and a great chance for the fans and academy,” Canetti said. “It’s a great chance to let the fans get comfortable, see the game from their seats, and for us to get ready for the show of a soccer game from start to finish before opening day.”
When asked if the club will be ready for that day, Canetti replied with a chuckle: “Right now, they have no choice.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.