Sirk's Notebook: Scoreboard Fire Edition

Scoreboard fire, Josh and Dom score & attacking Danny O'Rourke

Scoreboard

Photo Credit: 
TheCrew.com

What a beautiful night for a game. The sun is shining. It’s a rivalry game against loathsome D.C. United. Even though there’s a mega-important hockey game taking place a few miles away, I’m content to wish the Blue Jackets well from Crew Stadium. There’s no place I’d rather be on a perfect night like this. The….wait, what? Nuh-uh. Fine, I’ll go look for myself….OH THE CREWMANITY!!!


Credit: Sam Fahmi

So, yeah, the scoreboard caught on fire. Unfortunately for D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, the open flames flickered a little too close to the hydrogen-filled dirigible that is his team’s 2013 season. After a 50-minute scoreboard immolation delay, the Crew filled the D.C. net with goals like firemen filling a scoreboard with gallons. A 3-0 halftime lead resulted in a much-needed victory by the same score.

THE FIRE

Before I get to recounting the surreal evening, I’d first like to stress that nobody was injured. What could have been a scary and perilous event became a good-humored sideshow thanks to the quick-thinking and dedication of the Columbus Crew staff and, of course, the Columbus Fire Department. The Crew’s staff quickly cleared fans out of harm’s way. The CFD arrived promptly and soaked the scoreboard into submission.

“Thankfully there were no injuries whatsoever thanks to our operations staff and the Columbus Fire Department,” said Crew President and GM Mark McCullers. “The safety of our fans, players, and all attendees is always the top priority.”

The fans also kept calm and averted any panic-induced problems. Crew and United fans banded together with chants about biologically extinguishing the flames in a manner befitting of Chicago’s soccer team. The crowd also greeted the firefighters with hearty applause and chants of “C-F-D! C-F-D!” With their tall ladders barely reaching the top of the scoreboard, the firefighters extinguished the flames within a half hour of the first flicker. They even bravely climbed into the scoreboard to verify that everything was safe and that the game could be played.


Credit: Sam Fahmi

It’s not until you see them in action that you fully realize what heroes the men and women of the Columbus Fire Department are for the service that they provide to our community. Thank you, CFD.

WHEN IT ALL WENT DOWN

Both teams were on the field warming up when the craziness happened. Players found out in their own ways. For example, Crew midfielder Danny O’Rourke detected an anomalous crowd reaction during warm-ups.

“It was the first time the crowd had ever cheered during our possession drill, so I didn’t know what they were cheering for,” he said. “It was crazy. Never a dull day in Crewville, huh?”

Crew defender Josh Williams found out from a strangely stoic Federico Higuain.

“He looked at me and just pointed at it with no expression on his face or anything,” Williams said. “I looked over and saw the flames and I was thinking, ‘Does he realize what’s happening? He just pointed like it was no big deal.’ I thought that was pretty funny.”

“I was surprised,” said Higuain, who apparently kept his shock on the inside. “It was an accident. I never thought that thing would be on fire. Thank God that everything went okay.”

“I was shocked,” said Crew midfielder Tony Tchani. “We were warming up and I heard a few people talking about a fire. I’m like, ‘Fire? Where?’ And then I turned and I saw the smoke and the fire. I thought, ‘Wow. This incredible. How can something like this happen?’”

“You don’t expect the scoreboard to be on fire, but it happened,” said striker Jairo Arrieta. “At first you wonder if it can be dangerous if the fire spreads.”

“That’s not something you see every day, obviously, where the scoreboard bursts into flames,” said midfielder Eddie Gaven. “I saw people looking back, so I looked back too and it was like, ‘Wow. There are flames and there’s black smoke coming out of the scoreboard.’ I was trying to figure out how it happened, whether someone lit it on fire or what. Never a dull moment here at Crew Stadium.”

“It’s different, yeah?” said defender Glauber.

“That was definitely a first for me,” said midfielder Konrad Warzycha. “I was warming up and the refs were jogging right next to me. One of them pointed up at the scoreboard and said, ‘Hey, is it supposed to do that?’ I looked up and said, ‘No. Definitely not. That’s definitely a problem.’ I was shocked to see the smoke and the flames. I’m glad the whole thing didn’t catch on fire. Most guys stood out there and watched. I was one of them. We watched the whole thing until the fire department showed up.”

“Crazy, right?” said Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. “What a once-in-a-lifetime experience that was. Kinda funny, but kinda not. I’m glad we could play the game though.”

THE CAUSE

As the teams retreated to their locker rooms while awaiting a decision on whether or not the game would be played, the Crew’s locker room attempted to solve the puzzling event. Apparently the winning theory was that equipment manager Rusty Wummel sneaked up into the scoreboard for a smoke break and failed to properly extinguish his cigarette.

“Everyone was trying to blame it on me taking a smoke break,” said Wummel. “It couldn’t have been me! I was on the field the whole time!”

Not only does Wummel have an alibi, but the Columbus Fire Department also determined the actual cause of the fire. It was an electrical fire that originated in a subwoofer box in the sound system at the top of the scoreboard. Rusty is off the hook.

WARMING UP AGAIN

Once Crew officials got the all-clear from the Columbus Fire Department, the game kicked off 50 minutes later than planned. This gave the teams a chance to warm up again.

“It’s just something you have to deal with,” said Gaven. “It was tough having to warm up twice. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I was glad that they were able to get the fire put out.”

“Mentally, you just have to be strong and be calm,” said Arrieta.

“Obviously, it’s not the best thing to do because you’re pumped and ready to go, and then you have to wait,” said Higuain. “But the team kept its focus and we went out there and we played our way and we won the game.”

There’s one factor I hadn’t considered about the delay. I figured having to warm up, cool down, and warm up again would be a pain for the players, but Arrieta encountered an additional problem during the match itself.

 “I got hungry,” he said with a laugh afterward. “The game was later so now I’m hungry.”

After that conversation, I noticed a lot of players rushing off to belated dinners with family and friends. It’s funny the little things you never think about after witnessing a scoreboard fire.

ODURO. AGAIN.

The Crew took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Dominic Oduro banged home a low Arrieta cross. The goal was the result of some spectacular industry by Arrieta. He stabbed an Eddie Gaven cross out of the air, spun around and beat his defender on the dribble, then slotted a pass from the end line into the path of Oduro’s perfectly-timed goalmouth run.

After the goal, Oduro raced toward the Nordecke and then pointed at Arrieta from across the field. Oduro then swam upstream through a torrent of onrushing teammates to get to the Costa Rican. It was a beautiful moment since Oduro’s scoring binge had led the coaching staff to play the red-hot Ghanaian up top, therefore holding Arrieta out of the starting lineup upon returning from national team duty. It was a classy move by Oduro to draw attention to Arrieta’s role in the goal.

“I went to say thank you because he assisted on that goal,” said Oduro. “Without his pass, there won't be no Dominic Oduro goal. I wanted to show my appreciation. I thought he played his heart out like every other game he's been on.”

JOSH DOES THAT THING HE DOES

Josh Williams made it 2-0 on another one of his instep redirection volleys off of a Higuain corner kick. It was nearly identical to the goal he scored in the season opener at Chivas USA. Williams revealed his motivation for the goal.

“Dom scored, so I obviously had to re-up him because I can’t let him get too far ahead in that Golden Boot race,” he said. Williams now trails Oduro four goals to three.  

“I think all the credit has to go to Pipa,” Williams said of his tally. “He seems to put the ball in a dangerous spot every time. If it’s not me, it’s Chad or Glauber, and we added another big guy in Tony (Tchani.) It’s going to be hard for teams to defend us with that type of height. On that one, I kind of got a late read. I thought about diving with my head, but at the last second I jumped and did a little flying kick thing.”

He’s had two regular season goals, a near miss, and a preseason goal off of the same type of shot. It’s becoming his thing.

“Yeah, maybe I can trademark that,” he said. “We need to give it a name.”

If any of you readers have an idea on what to name Josh’s flying instep redirect corner kick thing, either leave it in the comments or tweet at both me (@stevesirk) and Josh (@josh3williams).

WHY THE KICK-TO-BE-NAMED-LATER WORKS

My harebrained theory as to why Josh’s flying instep shot works on corner kicks is that opposing teams take a deep breath once the ball falls out of the orbit of Chad Marshall’s head. Then Williams sneaks in with his instep volley.

“Chad, that guy’s been getting beat up, man,” Williams said, perfectly describing every Crew corner kick since 2004. “I was watching some the replays and he was getting bear hugs and people were dragging him down. I think I’m going to start pushing him too, just to get him out of the way. But man, he gets fouled every time. I feel bad for the big guy.”

CELEBRATION PLAGIARISM

Upon scoring his goal, Williams raced to the front of the Nordecke and stood on top of the video advertising boards to rev up the crowd. It was identical to Oduro’s celebration after scoring in the previous home game against Philadelphia. Rather than filing a copyright infringement lawsuit, Oduro was tempted by thoughts of vigilante justice.

“Josh is a copycat,” Oduro declared, then jokingly added, “I saw that move and almost two-footed him off the stand.”

“Yeah, I stole that from him, kinda,” Williams conceded. “But I had been thinking about that for a while and then I saw him do that in our last home game. He beat me to it. But it was cool to go over there and celebrate with those guys. It was the first goal I ever scored at home, so it was awesome.  I had been waiting for that. But yeah, I stole that from Dom. I’ll give him some credit for that.”

PIPA’S PK

The Crew made it 3-0 in first half stoppage time when Federico Higuain roofed a penalty kick. Once again, the industriousness of Arrieta and the craftiness of Gaven created the penalty. Arrieta chased down a ball in the left corner and played it to Gaven, whose touch took him to the end line. Arrieta made a hard run perpendicular to the end line, a few yards back of Gaven. Arrieta received a perfect heel pass from Gaven, then got run over by D.C. defender Brandon McDonald for the penalty.

“Jairo made a really good run on the play,” Gaven said. “I heard him call for the ball and I just put it into the space. Then he got taken down. It was a good run by him. He played really well for us.”

DANNY’S RUN

In the 87th minute, Danny O’Rourke dispossessed Dwayne De Rosario, played a quick ball to Higuain, and then….. sprinted into the United box on a counterattack? Yes, that actually happened. Higuain switched the ball to Oduro on the right flank. O’Rourke charged toward the United goal.

“I was actually thinking about making that run once Dom had the ball out wide,” Gaven said. “I was thinking I should try to go in the box, but then I look up and I see DANNY running in front of me. I just thought, ‘Whoa. Well, go for it, Danny.’ So then I just kind of dropped back so that I could cover his spot.”

“People don’t expect that run,” O’Rourke said, “so you have to make one or two just to keep the defense honest, which will give you more time in the middle. They were pushing hard and they weren’t really marking me in the middle, so I intercepted the ball and then obviously Dom can get behind anyone.”

The stadium suddenly buzzed with anticipation of the inconceivable—Danny O’Rourke’s first career goal in his 174th MLS appearance.

“I felt the crowd start to rise and I think everyone felt it too,” said Williams. “We all thought this could be the night. Everybody was ready for it…and then Dom airmailed it.”

“Yeah, come on Dom,” O’Rourke said of Oduro’s inaccurate service, which flew well over his head. “If he hits it on the ground, I have a chance. But he hit it over, and man, that was a pretty long run.”

To be fair, my theory was that Oduro looked up, identified Danny freakin’ O’Rourke as his lone target in the box, and then became disoriented when confronted with an image even more improbably strange than the scoreboard fire.

Williams posited a second theory. “When he was jogging back, Dom told me that he didn’t want Danny to score,” Williams said. “So yeah, I think Dom has something against Danny.”

Oduro confirmed that both theories are accurate.

“I think everybody will agree I hate Danny,” he joked. “But I also think seeing him, of all people, make that run just took me off guard for a moment and I forgot what sport I was playing.”

O’Rourke nevertheless holds out hope that a future foray will have a different outcome.

“He’ll get me next time,” O’Rourke said. “If Dom can hit that left-footed shot he scored on in Montreal, then he can make that pass next time for sure.”

The most disappointing part is that as the play unfolded, the goal seemed to be destined. The scoreboard caught on fire before the game, which was surely some sort of sign. Plus, if Danny scored, there wouldn’t be a scoreboard to put it on, a video screen to replay it on, or a public address system to announce it on.

“That would be just Danny’s luck, if that’s what would have happened,” said Gaven.

Everyone agreed that it would have been a little too weird to have a scoreboard fire and an O’Rourke goal all in one night.

Or in Danny’s own words: “It would be the definition of Armageddon.”

KICK SAVE

In the process of backstopping his second clean sheet of the season, Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made a brilliant kick save on a close-range toe poke by Dwayne De Rosario. That marks two straight weeks the Hebrew Hammer has made a kick save that would make his goaltending hero, New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur, proud.

“I love it,” Gruenebaum said. “I refuse to use my hands sometimes. I can’t catch the ball anyway, so I figured I’d switch to kick saves. And maybe that’s the key to making the All-Star team. You need to use your feet. No, it’s just one of those things where sometimes you need to flash the pads and make a kick save.”

ARRIETA RETURNS

In his first start since the home opener on March 16, Jairo Arrieta put his stamp all over the match. He assisted on the first goal, created the corner kick that led to the second goal, and earned the penalty kick that led to the third goal. The box score only shows one assist, but all three goals were Jairo writ large.

“He was very active –not only involved in the goals, but he kept the defense very honest,” said Warzycha.

“It's important.” Arrieta said of his big performance. “I had to talk to my wife about it, about whenever I had the opportunity (to start) again, I really had to show it –that I want to play; that I have to play. I’m satisfied with today’s job. Obviously, as a forward, you always want to score that goal, to get that goal.”

DANNY O DOMINATES

Arrieta’s tour de force overshadowed Danny O’Rourke’s best game of the season. He won tackles, he picked pockets, and he completed passes. He hustled, hectored, and harangued. He got a yellow card. He didn’t score a goal. It was a vintage O’Rourke performance.

“It seemed like Danny was all over the field,” said Gaven. “He was winning balls, making good tackles, moving the ball from side to side and doing all of those things that are a huge part of why we played so well.”

O’Rourke said his success was the result of the team’s effort.

“When you play high pressure like that, that’s pretty much my bread and butter,” he said. “I like to pressure and win balls, so when the team plays high pressure like that, it makes my job easier. And I love playing with Tony (Tchani), so I was really excited for that partnership. And then a guy like Chad played hard despite being sick, and Tyson came in in an adverse situation, and it was good to have Arrieta back in there and creating goals. Overall, a great performance by the guys, especially after a game like Chicago. When you have a bad performance like that, you can start second-guessing yourselves. But it’s a long season. We talked about responding well in the first 45 minutes and we responded well.”

CHICAGO REBOUND

As O’Rourke stated, the Crew rebounded from last week’s dismal Windy City showing in a big way. The players knew it was important to get off to a good start to put that debacle behind them.

“We knew we would regroup,” said Gruenebaum. “You’re going to have games like that. It’s a long season. We knew we had to come out and have a strong start, and we did that.”

“Sigi (Schmid) always used to say that goals change games,” O’Rourke said. “That’s what happened. You get a goal early against a team that hasn’t had the best results as of late and you put them on their heels away from home. We came out pressuring hard. We scored a goal and we didn’t let our foot off the pedal. Sometimes we do that, so it was a breath of fresh air to see the guys work as hard as they did.”

“That last game in Chicago was the worst game we played so far,” said Higuain. “The important thing is that the team learned from the mistakes that we made and we focused on what we are supposed to do. We came with the right attitude from the beginning and we got the three points.”

Tony Tchani said that the coaches wanted the players focused on smaller goals in pursuit of the bigger picture.

“It was our game plan to go for 45 minutes at a time instead of worrying about the whole 90 minutes,” Tchani said, “Our goal was to win every half. We wanted to win the first half, and we did. At halftime, we said to go and win the second half. We didn’t want to sit back. We wanted to score more goals. We didn’t score again, but we kept the clean sheet.”

WARZYCHA 19

In the 85th minute, Konrad Warzycha subbed into the match to the make his official Columbus Crew debut. Upon entering the match, Konrad and his father Robert became the second father-son duo to play for the same MLS team, joining Alex and Teal Bunbury with Kansas City. Robert Warzycha also became the second father to coach his son in an MLS game, following Bob Bradley and his son Michael.

“It was something unique and obviously I’m very proud,” said Robert.

“It’s been a while, but it’s good to get that first appearance out there,” Konrad said. “It’s a little easier to come into a game that’s 3-0 because it takes some of the pressure off. There’s a little more running because the other team is trying to throw it down your throat, but it was good.”

A son playing for his father could be a potentially weird situation, but there is no doubting that Konrad earned his shot. In preseason and in reserve games, he has consistently scored goals and performed well. Proving it on the field can smooth over some of the potential pitfalls.
 
“When I first got here, I knew some of the guys from coming to summer practices when I was at Ohio State,” Konrad said. “Those guys made some jokes about me being here with my dad, but we’re both professionals about it. It’s not really weird or anything. At least for me. He says it’s not weird for him either. You don’t see it every day, but when you get down to it, it’s just another player-coach relationship.”

But in terms of the Crew history books, it’s not just another player-coach relationship. Konrad wears the same #19 jersey that his father Robert wore, meaning Saturday was the first time since October 24, 2002, that a Warzycha 19 Crew jersey saw the field in an official Crew game. On that night, Robert’s final act as a professional player was to clear an Alejandro Moreno stoppage time shot off of the goal line to preserve the Crew’s 1-0 victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. And then on April 27, 2013, the scoreboard caught on fire before Konrad’s Crew debut. Suffice it to say that the bookends to the 11-year Warzycha 19 jersey drought each have a prominent place in Crew lore.

MR. NUMBERS NERD: CREW/JACKETS EDITION

On Saturday, Columbus was in the grip of hockey fever as the NHL’s Blue Jackets attempted to cap an amazing mid-season turnaround by clinching just the second playoff berth in team history. It also made for a weird sports night as both the Crew and Blue Jackets played at home at the same time, tearing at those who are fans of both teams.

Saturday marked the 12th time that the Crew and Jackets have played home games on the same day. Through the first 11 occurrences, such overlap produced an average combined attendance of 29,737. On Saturday, both teams exceeded their traditional averages on dual home dates, with the Jackets drawing 19,002 and the Crew drawing 14,090. The combined attendance of 33,092 was the third highest in history, but it was the highest-ever total when the two teams played at the exact same time. The top two combined attendances occurred when the Crew played in the afternoon and the Jackets played at night, allowing mutual fans to pull a Columbus pro sports doubleheader.

  DATE CREW BLUE JACKETS TOTAL
1 April 15, 2006 20,818 16,555 37,373
2 March 23, 2002 18,450 18,136 36,586
3 April 27, 2013 14,090 19,002 33,092

Another fun aspect to Saturday night was that both the Crew and Blue Jackets played their original rivals, D.C. United and the Nashville Predators, respectively. That was the third such “theme night” in Crew-Jackets overlap history. On April 15, 2006, both teams played Chicago. The Jackets beat the Blackhawks, 5-2, and the Crew tied the Fire, 1-1. And then on April 7, 2012, both teams played New York with differing lopsided results. The Jackets trounced the Islanders, 7-3, while the Crew got crushed by the Red Bulls, 4-1.

Given that both teams needed a win in a big way, it was perfect timing that Saturday marked just the second time that the Crew and Blue Jackets both won home games on the same day. The first instance also had postseason implications. On November 8, 2008, the Jackets defeated the Calgary Flames, 3-1, while the Crew defeated the Kansas City Wizards, 2-0, to move on the Eastern Conference Final en route to the 2008 MLS Cup title.  

Sadly, the Blue Jackets will not lift the Stanley Cup in 2013. Despite their 3-1 win over the Predators, both the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild also won, leaving the Blue Jackets out of the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker with Minnesota. Still, with both the Crew and Blue Jackets picking up victories against original rivals, and given some of the storylines surrounding each game, it was definitely a night to remember in Columbus pro sports history.

KIRK QUIRKS

The Crew were in Washington, D.C., last year when they learned the shocking news that teammate Kirk Urso had passed away. Both games against D.C. United this year have produced some eerie Kirk quirks.

On March 23 at RFK Stadium in D.C., The Crew scored a goal in the 15th minute. Kirk, of course, wore #15 for the Crew. That goal was scored by Josh Williams, who wears #3, which was Kirk’s number at the University of North Carolina. The game-winning goal that afternoon was scored by Ben Speas, Kirk’s teammate at UNC who vowed to dedicate his first MLS goal to Kirk, and then did so in the very city he learned of the tragedy.

In Saturday’s rematch with United, the Crew once again scored in the 15th minute. Then the Crew got a goal by #3. And then #33 scored Crew goal number three to cement three points.

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

MR. NUMBERS NERD: SHOTLESS IN CHICAGO EDITION

As previously discussed, Saturday’s first-half goal barrage against D.C. United was a welcome turnaround after the previous match. Over the course of 90 minutes in their 1-0 loss at Chicago on April 20, the Crew did not register a single shot on goal. To not force a single save attempt is the ultimate in offensive futility, but it was not a first in Crew history. Far from it. It was the fifth time that the Crew got shut out in the shots on goal department.

Right now, your mind is probably racing back to the early years of the Sigi Schmid rebuild when the Crew weren’t very good at all. But nope, not even the Sebastian Rozental, Knox Cameron, Ryan Coiner, Jacob Thomas, Ricardo Virtuoso, et al, teams were ever held without a single shot on goal.

The April 20 game marked the first time that the Crew did not fire a shot on goal since March 23, 2002, when they dropped a 2-0 home decision to the very same Chicago Fire in the season opener. Thankfully, that match was not a portent of things to come, as the Crew would finish the season by lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy on the very same field.

Here’s a list of the Crew’s games in which they registered zero shots on goal, all of which were losses:

* May 25, 1997, at Los Angeles. (1-0)
* September 12, 1998, at New England. (2-0)
* June 9, 2001, at Chicago. (1-0)
* March 23, 2002, vs. Chicago. (2-0)
* April 20, 2013, at Chicago. (1-0)

Yeah, the last three times have been against Chicago. Yuck.

The most startling facet of all this is that the previous four instances where the Crew couldn’t muster a shot on goal occurred in the 1997-2002 timeframe, when the original core was in place. Those were teams that could score plenty of goals. Brian McBride appeared in three of those games. So did Jeff Cunningham, Robert Warzycha, Brian West, and Ansil Elcock. Crew scoring aces like Stern John, Dante Washington, and Edson Buddle also participated in at least one zero-SOG game. And then there were two men who participated in all four: Brian Maisonneuve and Mike Clark.

So while the bad news is that the Crew didn’t put a single shot on frame in Illinois, the good news is that, after 11 years, Clarkie and Mais have been exonerated. If either of you are reading, we now have proof that the blame for those no-shot games didn’t lie with you two after all.

RANDOM FUNNY COMMENTS

“Well, Steve, we’re a team of firsts.” – McCullers’ first words to me before kickoff.  The Crew organization is proud of building the league’s first training facility, first soccer stadium, and various other firsts, such as the club’s recent apparel partnership with Homage. When something like a scoreboard fire happens, and when you know everybody is safe from harm, what’s left to do but roll with the punches and laugh at the absurdity of it all?

“It’s not a laughing matter, but I couldn’t stop laughing.” – Duncan Oughton, discussing the fire on the air during the Fox Sports Ohio halftime show. See? There was a lot of that going around.

“We should get six points for beating United and the Fire.” – Crew Stadium Production Manager Dan Lolli, as if the evening featured a split-squad doubleheader against D.C. and Chicago.

“Dude, I speak slang, bro.” – Crew legend Frankie Hejduk, dismissing a grammatical correction during a postgame conversation.

CONVERSATION THAT WAS WEIRD AFTER THE FACT
 
Well before kickoff, I stood in the tunnel conversing with Dan Lolli and Crew team ops guru Tucker Walther. Lolli mentioned that he’d ideally like to get the very end of the Blue Jackets game up on the scoreboard after the Crew game.
 
“Maybe we can throw it up there for our fans who are also interested in the hockey game,” Lolli said. “We’ll probably end about 15 minutes before they do.”
 
Tucker, who loves nothing more when BS’ing than to argumentatively place hypothetical roadblocks into anyone’s plans, merely for the sport of it, said, “What if our game gets delayed?”
 
Lolli and I both gazed toward the sunny glow at the field end of the tunnel.
 
“I don’t think that will be a problem,” Lolli replied.
 
“Yeah,” I said, “but what if there’s, like, a one-cloud lightning strike?”
 
“What if there’s a blizzard that nobody saw coming?” wondered Tucker. “What if we get 20 inches of snow in the next hour?”
 
Lolli didn’t waver, patronizingly assuring us, “I think we’re gonna be fine.”
 
About an hour and 15 minutes later, we weren’t. The game indeed got delayed. As we spoke, Tucker and I never could have imagined that the evening’s reality would soon be every bit as absurd as our hypothetical scenarios.

DUDE GETS THE LAST WORD

Frankie Hejduk has played soccer all over the world. He has conceivably seen it all. But had he ever experienced a night like Saturday?

“No dude, but this is Crewville, bro. This is what we do here, dude. We make things weird, and things get a little gnarly, and things get a little out of control, and then it ends up working out. It gets a little weird, a little crazy, a little wild, and a little cool. So it goes, bro. So it goes.”

And so it went on the surreal evening of April 27, 2013.

Questions? Comments? Know if every time United complained about something, if the Crew said “Scoreboard” and then United replied “Scoreboard”, would both sides think they won the argument? Feel free to write at sirk65@yahoo.com or via twitter @stevesirk