Remember in 2008-9, when Seattle was nearing its MLS debut, how FieldTurf promised the league’s first permanent artificial pitch would play like grass? And how it never did, really, at all? And how it would fall apart far more quickly than pre-installation projections imagined?
In a completely shocking twist, turns out that same company may have been busily defrauding schools and municipalities all over the country in that same period. In an elaborately well-reported three-parter, NJ Advance Media’s Christopher Baxter and Matthew Stanmyre document how FieldTurf hastily sold and installed more than 1,400 ‘Duraspine’ turf fields between 2005 and 2012.
too long/didn’t click: The vast majority of the Duraspine fields, which cost $300,000 to $500,000 each, were installed after the company knew that the fields were not close to meeting the company’s durability claims. What’s worse is these fantasy durability numbers were often the substantial basis of the sales pitch, which means that a drastically shorter lifespan would have been inimical to sales. In other words, they covered it up and lied their way to over a half-billion dollars in sales - maybe some of it from your school or community!
Atlanta says: You come in heavy, or not at all
Remember Carlos Bocanegra? Two-time MLS Defender of the Year back when the Fire were feared? He signed as technical director for (then-unnamed) Atlanta United some 20 months ago, and we’re starting to see the fruits of his labors.
Atlanta United isn’t going to creep its way into MLS. Prior to having so much as a kickaround, the deep-pocketed expansion side has, in the last few days, 1.) Snatched the Fire’s starting goalkeeper, 2.) Signed an elite young American attacker (Brandon Vazquez) to join the Homegrown elite young American attacker they already had (Andrew Carleton), and 3.) have now apparently lured north one of the most-heralded attacking talents in South America(!), Lanus inside left Miguel Almirón. (WARNING: MUTE NECESSARY.) (SECOND WARNING: May result in dissatisfaction in the non-Atlantan.)