Jeld-Wen Field makes opposing coaches worry

Another foe wary of dimensions and artificial surface

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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PORTLAND — Defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado is the seventh league foe to visit Jeld-Wen Field. Opposing coaches have consistently noted the dimensions and composition of the field in Jeld-Wen.

Colorado coach Gary Smith weighed in with this comment to the Denver Post:

“The pitch is very tight, it’s very narrow, it’s very short. It’s plastic (turf). The (field has) been dug into the ground, so it creates a much tighter environment for what are some of the most vocal fans in the league. They’ve created an atmosphere that is difficult to play in.”

True, Jeld-Wen Field is 10 yards shorter and 10 yards skinnier than the Rapids’ home park. And real grass is preferable to fake grass for soccer, so it makes sense that Smith doesn’t want to bring forward Omar Cummings off the injured list today. But Jeld-Wen’s 110-by-70 pitch is plenty big enough for MLS, and the surface has received the highest certification standard given by soccer’s international governing body.

“I personally love it,” Timbers forward Kenny Cooper said about the FieldTurf, noting the FIFA designation. “It was great on the first day it’s still great months later. It’s great quality, and personally I like it.”

Cooper said MLS has venues that test players in many ways.

“Hopefully it’s a case that we know the lay of the land (at Jeld-Wen) a little bit better than them, and it could be an advantage for us.”

• The Timbers U-23s play games today and Sunday in British Columbia. They play the Abbotsford Mariners and the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency.

• Trail Blazers guard Patty Mills will meet with fans at noon today at the Timbers store at Jeld-Wen Field, promoting his new Assist Australia/Stand Together T-shirt to raise funds for his Assist Australia Foundation and for the Portland Timbers Community Fund.