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February 27, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Pictures of a revamped CenturyLink Field

02272012 turf1.JPGBy now you surely know that a new FieldTurf surface has been installed at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders held their first practice on the turf this morning and the team’s next home game is Wednesday, a 7 p.m. preseason game against Mexico’s Jaguares de Chiapas (admission is free).

There are two new video-boards being installed as well — one on the south end and one on the north end. Neither are expected to be in action Wednesday and both, powered by Mitsubishi Diamond Vision, should be up and running by the team’s March 17 MLS opener.

I have some FieldTurf reaction from the team after the jump, and be sure to check out a longer interview with Gary Wright, the Sounders’ senior VP of business operations:

* * *

COACH SIGI SCHMID

“Having a new turf field is a big plus for us from the standpoint of it’s going to play much truer to grass. It’s going to slow the ball down at times, which is important for a team like us that likes to keep possession. Obviously there’s more bounce to it, there’s more give, it’s a spongier surface so it plays a lot better than it did last year.”

“Physically, it definitely helps because it’s softer. It’s still hard underneath — that’s the way it all is — but it’s definitely easier on the body than it would be otherwise. There’s a lot more unplanned cuts in soccer that you have to do … so just being able to cut on this surface with it being softer like that takes a lot of the wear and tear off.”

MIDFIELDER ALVARO FERNANDEZ, through an interpreter

“It’s great. It’s better than the old surface. We just have to adapt to it quickly. … The biggest difference is the speed at which the ball moves. When (the blades) are a little bit longer, you have to hit it with more force, and that’s something we have to get used to. When it’s shorter, it plays more quickly.”

GOALKEEPER MICHAEL GSPURNING

“I don’t know the old turf, but the new turf is perfect. It’s ready for the games, so we are too. Let’s start the season.”

* * *

Here’s a closeup look of the FieldTurf

02272012 turf close.JPG

Here’s the north board

02272012 north board.JPG

Here’s the south board

02272012 south board.JPG

Here’s the group

02272012 group.JPG

Here’s goalkeeper Bryan Meredith taking some shots

02272012 meredith.JPG

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