When the Columbus Crew travel to Foxboro Stadium to face the New England Revolution Saturday, they won’t be strangers to the synthetic turf they’ll be playing on.
Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss decided to take the team to Ohio Dominican University’s field for Thursday’s training session, where players could get used to the artificial field that many complain about.
“Artificial turf is artificial turf. Some of it is a little different than others, but for the most part the aspects of the game on turf is the same,” Bliss said. “So I think it’s in our best interests to at least get a day in over at ODU just to get a feel for it.”
Midfielder Wil Trapp downplayed the differences of transitioning to turf, and said that he didn’t think it mattered to most players.
“I don’t think it’s that much of a difference,” he said. “The ball moves a lot quicker, but that’s easy to adjust to. You get used to it over time, and I think we’ll be fine.”
But winger Dominic Oduro, whose speed is the focal point of his game, disagreed with the central midfielder, highlighting the differing opinions depending on position.
“You can’t take [the turf] out of the equation. It’s not going to be the same, it’s not going to bounce the same, the touches aren’t going to be the same,” Oduro said.
But despite New England’s acclimation to the field, Oduro said the team’s mindset will be more important in overcoming the change.
“They’re very comfortable with it, so they’re going to have a little bit of an advantage,” he said. “But it’s all about determination and willingness to go out there and win games. If you have that mentality, it doesn’t matter if we’re playing on concrete, we’ll still win that game.”
For Oduro, the added speed will be a gift, as the speedster looks to take advantage of a bad skip for a New England defender.
“It helps, because if you really anticipate that every ball is literally going to skip over the defender, it helps the speed,” he said. “They’ve played on it a lot, and realize that, but I’m going to take my chances. Hopefully one ball will skip my way, and I just have to do it right. There’s no room for error.”