NWSL sides Western New York Flash & Seattle meet on skinny Frontier Field pitch

A very narrow pitch in a women's football match
The skinny pitch at Frontier Field measured just 58 yards across, according to Seattle's boss

Keeping a tight, compact defence has never been so easy.

It is an image that takes you back to 22 youngsters crammed into a tiny playground. But this is not a lunchtime kickabout - it's the top division of women's football in the United States.

When Western New York Flash could not use their usual home at Rhinos Stadium for a meeting with Seattle Reign because of a concert, they put forward Frontier Field - a baseball stadium in Rochester.

They won 3-2 in their temporary home on Saturday but there could yet be repercussions over the venue choice as the visitors from Seattle got rather less than they bargained for - specifically, a pitch on which the touchline was only a few feet from the edge of the penalty area.

Not a fixture in which wingers were likely to shine, then.

'Tonight can never happen again'

Frontier Field
Frontier Field managed to squeeze in both a football pitch and baseball field

Old Trafford measures 115 yards by 74 yards.

Seattle manager Laura Harvey claims she was told the pitch at Frontier Field would be slightly smaller than regulation but described what her side had to play on as a "farce".

"The result and outcome are secondary to what impact this will have on our sport," said the former Arsenal Ladies manager, who claimed the pitch was 110 yards long but only 58 wide.

"Tonight became a farce that can never happen again," she said.

'We made the wrong decision'

Lianne Sanderson
England international Lianne Sanderson featured for Western New York Flash

Harvey claims National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) officials initially agreed the pitch was not acceptable several hours before the fixture but that stance changed closer to kick-off without any adjustments having been made to its dimensions.

In a statement, the NWSL said: "Due to various factors, the league office made the decision to grant an exception for this evening's match. In retrospect, we made the wrong decision.

"As a professional league, we need to ensure the integrity of the game is always respected, both on and off the field. We did not do that tonight and we apologise to the NWSL players, coaches and fans."

The two sides play again at Seattle next weekend. It remains to be seen whether the hosts use an extra wide pitch in a bid to bamboozle their visitors.

Wales and Seattle Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock expressed her feelings about the pitch on Twitter
Wales and Seattle Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock expressed her feelings about the pitch on Twitter
Caroline Stanley
Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Caroline Stanley showed her frustrations on Twitter

Top Stories