This morning, after arriving home from Kansas City at approximately 6 a.m., I climbed into bed hoping to catch a few hours of shut eye prior to work. I had a very vivid dream that involved Godfrey Tenoff showing up unexpectedly at my Frogtown bungalow. It was not clear from the dream exactly why Tenoff was visiting me at home. I've never had a conversation with the dogged Thunder midfielder previously--unless you count screaming at him from the bleachers of The Jimmy. But the most striking aspect of the dream was that the interior of my house was covered--quite literally--with ants and flies. They were swarming everywhere, crawling over my body and biting me, as I attempted to engage Mr. Tenoff in conversation.
And then I was awoken by the sound of Warren Zevon's "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" coming from the clock radio.
Our tribe of 40-plus fanaticos made our presence felt in K.C. last night. Fueled by a seven-hour bus ride of Town Hall growlers and Steel Reserve lager, we were a red-faced, full-throated horde by kickoff. The feeble K.C. supporters sounded like they were witnessing a synchronized swimming competition by comparison.
Song of the night, penned on the bus ride down:
Oompa Loompa Dompadee Doo
The Royals are crap and the Wizards are too
Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dee
Your best player's in the AARP
I'm sure the Wizards faithful--all 408 of them--enjoyed that one. (Can we please move this franchise to a town that will support it? They've had a decade to establish support and can't get 2,000 fans out for an Open Cup quarterfinal?)
The game was actually quite evenly contested. The Thunder simply buried their opportunities, while K.C. squandered theirs. Johnny Menyongar was a hellion all night, scoring two goals and creating the third. Melvin Tarley was nearly as dangerous, only kept off the score sheet by an acrobatic save from the KC goalkeeper. The Liberian duo are now the top two scorers among the four teams left in the Open Cup. In the Thunder's three triumphs over MLS squads the good guys have scored a remarkable 13 goals. By comparison they're averaging just 1.33 goals per game in 1st Division competition. I'm at a loss to explain the Jeckle-Hyde nature of the team's season.
Owing no doubt to his remarkable Open Cup performances, Tarley has been loaned to Real Salt Lake for the remainder of the season. Great news for him. He's earned a look by MLS--and the Mormons can certainly use some more firepower up front. Given that it's Tarley's third full season with the Thunder, it's easy to forget that he's still just 21 years old. The kid's upside is tremendous. Few forwards possess his combination of speed, strength, and relentless determination to get the ball into the net by any possible means. Even better: Tarley will still be available to the Thunder for the Open Cup semifinals on September 14th against the L.A. Galaxy at the Home Depot Center. Is another road trip in order?
I don't usually waste my breath bitching about the lack of media coverage accorded soccer. I don't really give a flying fuck if Patrick Reusse and Tom Powers get their jollies belittling it as a little girl's game. That's their prerogative. And since I can't convince my own paper to print any soccer coverage it'd be more than a little hypocritical to throw rocks. But the media is missing an extraordinary David v. Goliath story by pretty much ignoring the Thunder's remarkable run through the Open Cup. Can't one reporter assigned with chronicling the relative health of Matt Birk's groin be spared?
One grim side note: As last night's game ended and we were exchanging love with the grateful Thunder players and coaches, a couple of K.C. cretins came over to our section intent on trouble. They started mixing it up with some Thunder supporters and a small melee broke out. The cops, warily watching over our section all night, immediately pulled out the pepper spray and doused everyone in the vicinity. They didn't even make an effort to sort things out before engaging in this unnecessary use of force.
Luckily none of our tribe were arrested. The two K.C. numbskulls were hauled off to jail. It made for a somewhat crappy end to the night and a rather somber bus ride home. Which is probably just as well. I needed some sleep.
(photo courtesy of Joe Leyba)