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Atlanta United players react to new pitch laid at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

MBS has a new field laid down, but will it affect the play?

MLS: Champions League-Monterrey at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United players will be playing on some new artificial turf this season as work to replace the original FieldTurf field was completed earlier this week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The new surface is FieldTurf’s new top-of-the-line product called “CORE,” a supposed upgrade on the previous field which used FieldTurf’s “Revolution 360” product. According to information from FieldTurf, the two products have the same infill and backing, with the only difference being the way the artificial grass fibers are constructed. When the Revolution 360 product was originally installed, it was FieldTurf’s highest-quality product.

My personal observation of the new turf was that the grass fibers stood noticeably straighter than the old product, which flattened over time with use.

How will this new field affect Atlanta United players? The team got a feel for the new pitch for the first time Wednesday when the team trained at its home stadium. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Frank de Boer

“It was really good. The turf is of course brand new and the grass is sticking straight up a little bit. That’s much better for our players. It’s not too hard at the moment and if we can keep it that way, it should be great. From what I saw, the players love to play on it, and hopefully we can get some good results on that new turf.”

Brad Guzan

“It was certainly a bit fluffier. The actual turf was probably a bit thinner, if that makes sense. But what it was two weeks ago to what it is now is night and day. You have a bunch of events, concerts, monster car, you’ve got the Falcons. When you have that many events going on on the field, it’s naturally going to get matted down a little bit... It’s certainly a bit fluffier and the ball sits up a bit higher.”

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez

“It felt good. Different. It’s like... soft. Softer than normal. The ball rolls more slowly because it looks like the grass is high. It’s good to step [on] it.”

The players intimated that the new turf is playing a bit slower, likely due to the erect nature of the new artificial grass blades, and that keeping the pitch wet will help ensure the ball plays similarly to that of the old pitch.