Timbers Expanding Width of Field to 75 Yards

Tom Hauck

Jeld-Wen Field's playing surface will be widened by an additional yard, marking the second consecutive season with an expansion.

Jeld-Wen Field, which was laid out with dimensions of 70x110 yards in 2011 and 2012, used to be described as being as small as a postage stamp. "They play in a shoe box that one team is used to playing on and one team is not. By no means do I think that's going to determine the outcome, but it's something that the league should at least address." So said disgruntled then Chicago Fire defender Dan Gargan after the Portland Timbers won 2-1 against the Fire in May 2012.

Ahead of the 2013 season (and actually, before the US Women played Ireland in a friendly), with great fanfare, the Timbers expanded the playing field by two yards on both the east and west sides of the stadium to reach 74x110 yards. The change was made to help accommodate Caleb Porter's possession-oriented system and spread opposing defenses wider than was previously possible.

Now, according to Merritt Paulson, the club has expanded the playing surface to its limits, adding another half-yard on either side of the field:

follow-up tweet explained that due to bench positioning regulations on the touchline and the necessity for football goalposts on the endlines, 75x110 yards is as big as it's going to get. That leaves Jeld-Wen Field as one of only two MLS grounds with a field length of just 110 yards, along with DC United's RFK Stadium. The 75-yard width joins nine others with that exact specification, making it wider than Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium (70 yards, RFK (72 yards), Dallas' Toyota Stadium (74 yards), Seattle's CenturyLink Field (74 yards), San Jose's Buck Shaw Stadium (74 yards) and Toronto's BMO Field (74 yards).

Portland's field expansion will accompany the replacement of the three-year old FieldTurf ahead of the 2014 season.

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