CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Soccer Federation called Cincinnati “a perfect host” for its June 9 exhibition against Venezuela, a day after the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association claimed the Nippert Stadium playing surface is dangerous.

Players said the temporary grass field on top of the venue’s artificial turf “is a threat to player safety.”

The USSF issued a statement Friday saying the game was scheduled “to connect with Cincinnati’s growing soccer culture” and to reduce travel time. The Americans will play their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener June 18 against Guyana at St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Laying sod at large stadiums is common practice for world class matches, as was the case during Copa America Centenario, and again this summer with the Gold Cup,” the USSF said. “The sod, installation, and maintenance planned for Cincinnati will provide players a first-class surface.”


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