Should the US national team play home World Cup qualifiers in Portland or Seattle? It's a debate that has raged on in recent months and it has centered around the artificial field surface at both JELD-WEN Field and CenturyLink Field.
But if Jurgen Klinsmann's side plays any CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in Portland or Seattle this summer, he won't have a choice. It'll be turf.
MLSsoccer.com received confirmation from CONCACAF that the Gold Cup will be played on artificial turf in both venues.
“CONCACAF is looking to have the best playing surface possible for all of the games,” said CONCACAF general secretary Enrique Sanz in a statement provided by the regional governing body, "and given the FIFA-approved, high-quality surface maintained for professional soccer year round in Seattle and Portland, the 2013 Gold Cup will be played on the existing surface in Seattle and Portland."
JELD-WEN's FieldTurf surface earned FIFA 2-Star recommended status for the second year running in March 2012, while CenturyLink's new generation FieldTurf surface, installed in February 2012, also received a FIFA 2-Star rating in May of last year.
Reports indicated that the USMNT is open to playing home qualifiers on a temporary grass surface. But Klinsmann & Co. could still very well opt for an artificial turf surface for the matches and a potential positive Gold Cup experience at either JELD-WEN Field or CenturyLink could influence the US Soccer Federation's final decision.
Any venue selected by the US Soccer Federation for World Cup qualifiers requires final approval by CONCACAF and FIFA.
Only one of the five WCQ sites has been announced: The USMNT will host Costa Rica on March 22 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids.