Paul Silvi: Why can't soccer handle the heat?

Let me start off by saying I'm a huge soccer fan, but there are certain things I detest about the sport. The constant overacting has always been number one on my list. You've seen it - a player gets tripped up, rolls around on the ground writhing in pain and once the penalty is secured, he slowly gets to his feet and everything is right with the world again.

I bring this up because all of these guys battling for Oscars on the pitch add to the myth that soccer players lack toughness. Thankfully, you won't find a lot of these overactors on the Sounders roster. For the most part, when a Sounder goes down, it's legit (although I'm watching you Lodeiro).

Why am I bringing up this age-old complaint about soccer players? Because the players' toughness is being called into question again, now that kickoff for Sunday's match between the Sounders and Timbers has been moved from the original 12:30 p.m. start time to 7:30 p.m. due to excessive heat.

Excessive heat?

This begs for debate. Let's play a little Point-Counterpoint, which would be noticeably more entertaining with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain taking their respective sides.

Point: Temperatures will be in the 90s. Soccer players spend their whole lives playing in the heat of the summer. These guys run around in short sleeve shirts and shorts. There will be water breaks intermittently throughout the game. How tough can it be to stand, walk, jog and sometimes run around for 90 minutes?

Counterpoint: If they play this match in the middle of the day, the field will be in direct sunlight, and according to the Timbers twitter account, "direct sun creates a layer directly above the artificial turf that's 30-45 degrees higher than air temps. Late kick means field temp equals air temp." In other words, the field will be in the shade by 7:30 which will make temperatures much more tolerable.

Point: NFL players must be having a good laugh, especially those teams who hold training camps in warm climates, battling temps in the 90s while working out in full pads. You might remember the Seahawks opening the 2014 season in a very hot San Diego. It was 95 degrees at kickoff, which means these guys were in full pads for close to four hours.

Counterpoint: Safety first. It's not only better for the players, it's safer for the fans. And besides, players will tell you they'd much rather play their games in the evening than under the afternoon sun. Heat aside, the field is sticky and slow in the sun, but plays faster under the lights.

So there you go - arguments for both sides.

Sounders fans, the team has been asking you to "Give us your full 90" since their inaugural season.

Sunday, 90 will be the magic number again, even if it's in the shade.

© 2017 KING-TV


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