It wasn't supposed to end like this when Mexico's very first hybrid field was laid at the legendary Estadio Azteca in mid-July. The grass continues to die, leaving dirt patches around.
In the second half of July Estadio Azteca received its first hybrid field, which means synthetic fibres have been sawn in along with natural grass. This solution was used for the first time in Mexico and Azteca seems the perfect place to do it. It's used by two Liga MX teams (America and Cruz Azul), the national team, not even starting with American football games or women's football.
From the start it was clear that first months will be rough and the field should reach optimal quality only after – roughly – half a year of maintenance. It's very hard due to limited subsoil layers, which is one of two long-time problems.
The second is insufficient drainage, which hasn't been redone for many years. And that drainage suffered a huge hit in early August, when heavy rains hit Mexico City. Not uncommon for this time of year and in the past mitigated with tarp covering the field, this time rain caused severe damage to the natural turf.
Dying grass revealed significant patches of sand. Already by mid-August the sports director of Cruz Azul admitted that the field is unfit for use. At the same time he reminded journalists that the team has nowhere to go (having moved to Azteca precisely due to lack of home stadium) and needs to adapt to the poor conditions.
The stadium's private operator suggested that both Cruz Azul and America leave the stadium to give the field some recovery time, but this hasn't happened. As a result, the field has been heavily criticised in recent days, sometimes being called the single worst field in Azteca's history.