Weston McKennie fumes over the lack of ‘atmosphere’ in US stadiums at the Copa America… while joining Argentina in criticism of ‘patchy’ playing surface

Weston McKennie has railed against various aspects of the Copa America, as he derided a perceived lack of playing ‘atmosphere’ in the US and ‘frustrating’ playing surface issues.

On Friday, Argentina complained about the grass at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, as goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez branded the field a ‘disaster’ despite the team’s 2-0 win over Canada.

And USA midfielder McKennie has now joined the chorus of critics of the tournament, with the Americans also set to play in Atlanta next week vs. Panama.

‘I think what Martinez was saying was completely true,’ he told The Athletic. 

‘It’s frustrating, especially as a player. You know, whenever you do come here to America you play in a stadium that can fit 70,000 people but 25,000 show up. You don’t really have an atmosphere. 

Weston McKennie has hit out at the playing conditions at this summer’s Copa America

He also complained about a perceived lack of 'atmosphere.' The USA's friendly vs. Brazil earlier this month in Orlando was filled with opposing fans.

He also complained about a perceived lack of ‘atmosphere.’ The USA’s friendly vs. Brazil earlier this month in Orlando was filled with opposing fans.

‘And then you’re playing on a football field, with laid grass that’s all patchy and it breaks up every step you take. It’s frustrating.’

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tickets for Argentina’s win over Canada sold out. 

However, tickets for the USA’s tournament opener vs. Bolivia in Arlington are currently selling for as little as $85 on Seatgeek.

US Soccer has rotated between several different venues for home matches in recent years, and the crowd was filled with opposing fans (a common trend) as the men’s team faced Brazil in Orlando.  

Expanding on the Copa America’s field issues, McKennie said, ‘Everyone knows that football is a big business, it’s all about the dollars and money in pockets but at the end of the day we need the best conditions to be able to do what we love and get the best out of us and the best results.’

Mercedes-Benz Field, the home of MLS’ Atlanta United and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, normally uses an artificial playing surface.

The stadium has laid a grass surface on top of that turf for this tournament, and it’s not the only Copa America site employing that method.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said the grass hindered his team in the win over Canada

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said the grass hindered his team in the win over Canada

Lionel Messi is seen with the ball during Argentina's win over Canada on Friday night

Lionel Messi is seen with the ball during Argentina’s win over Canada on Friday night

McKennie also acknowledged some of the playing surface issues at the Euros, but claimed that ‘they’re all playing on great fields’ in Germany.

On Friday, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni fumed about the playing surface in Atlanta after the game.

‘Respectfully, thank goodness we won, because otherwise it would have been a cheap excuse to sit here and say this,’ he said.

‘We knew we were going to play here for seven months and they changed the grass two days ago. For the show it’s not good. I’m sorry.

 ‘The stadium is beautiful, and with the synthetic grass it should be spectacular, but with today’s grass it was not suitable for these type of players.’

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