KENYA BROWN - Saturday, June 14, 2014
The United States national team does not play Group G rivals Portugal until June 22 at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus, but there is already talk about the condition of the field.
The first game to be played at the World Cup stadium located in the middle of the Brazilian rainforest will be a Group D ecounter between England and Italy on June 14, but there are increasing concerns that the condition of the grass turf will not be ideal for play.
According to the head groundsman of the stadium, the turf is dry, spotty and in terrible condition. With only days to go until the first game is played at the Amazonia, there is worry that the turf will not improve.
"Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape," said Carlos Botella, head groundsman for the Royal Verd company in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. "We've started to implement an emergency plan to try to save the field and improve it as much as possible, but I don't think it'll be in good condition by the weekend."
Botella added in the interview that measures were being taken to improve the turf.
"Yesterday we put fertilizer, and we'll increase the fertilizing process with biostimulants and seeds to try to get the most out of the grass," he said.
This is not the first time that issues with the Amazonia Arena have arisen. In April, during a Brazilian Cup match between Vasco da Gama and Resende, the stadium experienced problems with its sound system as it tried to play the Brazilian national anthem. Fans also had difficulty entering the stadium.
Despite having 600 stewards on hand for the game, they were unable to control the crowd of 40,000 as some were able to enter the field after the game.
Construction of the stadium has also been marred by the deaths of three workers.
It is still unknown whether the turf will be playable come June 22, but the United States coaching staff should be looking at strategies on how to play on it before that time.