There will be Seahawks football markings on the pitch at CenturyLink Field tonight when Seattle Sounders FC opens its playoff series against Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders alerted fans that there will be a Seahawks logo at midfield, lettering in the end zone, and perhaps thick outlines on the NFL gridiron, which at 160 feet is narrower than a soccer pitch. There will not be yard lines, numbers or hashmarks.
“This was a compromise,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “Our preference would be a totally clean soccer field, and football’s preference undoubtedly was a completely lined football field so that they don’t have any concerns for Sunday. But it’s the reality of a two-sport stadium.”
The conversion time needed to prepare the field for the Seahawks’ NFL game on Sunday forced the Sounders to choose between playing tonight with the gridiron markings or playing Monday on a pristine pitch. The Sounders decided it was more important to have more time to prepare for the decisive playoff match Thursday in Utah.
“From a physiological side for the team, it made more sense to play the game (tonight),” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… The end zone markings and the midfield markings, we’re fine with. If the border could be avoided along the sidelines, that would be great for us. But … there’s been so much cooperation between the two organizations that this is a small thing for us to do.”