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Garde Highlights Dangers of Yankee Stadium Pitch

Montreal Impact’s coach was not alone in condemning the playing surface used for yesterday’s game.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Houston Dynamo
Remi Garde - happy with yesterday’s result, but not the pitch.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It might be ok for a pitch, but not for a football pitch ...

Unsurprisingly Remi Garde highlighted the state of the Yankee Stadium pitch during his post-match presser yesterday, labelling it, “dangerous”.

It’s without doubt one of the worst pitches this writer has seen in professional football, and does nothing for the game’s integrity in North America. The stadium itself may be a fine baseball venue, yet it’s a bad joke when it comes to football. But that’s another story.

I must say I’ve played on worse, but I was 14 and it was built for cars.

Dust visibly kicked up as the ball bounced or rolled over the surface yesterday, and a huge divot appeared in one penalty-box after a duel between Taider and New York captain, Alex Ring. On another occasion the latter was seen limping away, after the surface had given way under his standing foot, as he attempted what became a misplaced pass.

With ground-staff furiously replacing turf during the half-time interval, it was hard to imagine the likes of Villa, Lampard and Pirlo had once graced this ground. You can’t help but feel the exalted trio must surely have preferred to play their football away from the Bronx venue.

“The physical integrity of the players should be the main concern for everyone in this league,” Garde said. “To be honest, it’s dangerous. It’s not the best place to play good football, but obviously it’s a worse place to play in terms of injuries. This is something that annoys me.”

The fare on offer was hard to watch, the horrible surface contributing greatly to the scrappiness of the game.

Huge divots emerged various times during the game, a bore-fest with little good football to enjoy, not to say anything about dangers to players.

“It was really hard,” Impact midfielder Samuel Piette said. “We played on two pitches today, the part where it was really dry and when there was a tackle the field would lift up right away and we actually needed time to put it back to normal.”

But not only the visiting players had complaints. New York City players also heaped criticism.

“The pitch was terrible, but it is same for both teams,” fullback Anton Tinnerholm said. “So I’m not gonna blame the pitch today. Because it’s not the pitch’s fault we didn’t score goals. The pitch was crap, but for everyone it was the same.”

MLS: Montreal Impact at New York City FC
NYCFC captain, Alex Ring (left), was also highly critical having picked up an ankle injury in the first-half
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

And captain Ring on his slip on the surface in the first half, producing an ankle that was still swollen in the locker room after the game.

“I can complain about the pitch, but it happens after 30 minutes and you play the whole game with a sore ankle. It’s not the best.”

Surely MLS needs to take this matter in hand if New York City does not. It can’t be right after what was a poor game of football, that the major talking point is the state of the playing surface, but that was the case yesterday.