Ever since before BMO Field opened a group of people -- crotchety soccer journalists, mostly -- have been complaining about the playing surface there, a modern form of artificial turf designed to look (almost) and play (kind of) like grass.
True football, these guys said, was meant to take place on lush patches of thick natural grass. Guys like that almost never call it "soccer."
But sometimes even the most ardent field turf hater has to concede that natural isn't always better.
In less than three hours TFC and DC United will meet at Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas, and kick off on a natural grass field, one that features lumps and loose clumps of dirt. And one that's only 62 yards wide.
TFC coach John Carver said on a field that small, every throw-in in the opposing team's zone is like a corner kick because they land in the 6-yard box.
But the field presents problems, too.
Chivas USA and DC United told us everything we need to know about the field conditions when they each gathered their starters and met at a nearby university for a scrimmage, then sent their subs and scrubs to play in the tournament game on the bumpy field.
Carver didn't complain about it, and said his players didn't either.
"They're not ideal conditions, but you've got to get on with it," he said.
Are you listening, field-turf bashers? You just get on with it.
The City of Toronto sank nearly $10 million into that stadium, and they make that money back by renting the field out to civilians year round. Which means real grass isn't coming any time soon.
Yeah, it's a drag, and maybe the field turf's not perfect, but TFC's players have seen much, much worse.
And they'll see it again tonight against D.C.'s B-team.
The Jury is Still Out
By the time this tournament ends Sunday night Carver says he'll have figured out which, if any, of the three will travel with the team to their final preseason tournament in Charleson, S.C.
-- Morgan Campbell