I don't know what kind of sadistic corporation sets these match dates and decides we should play a schedule that eases into December. It is bitterly cold in Kansas City (on both the Kansas and Missouri sides, if you were wondering). Indications are that RSL fans are arriving en masse, and indications also are that they'll be wearing multitudes of layers of clothes. I should hope so, as I don't want any of you lot to freeze.
The best I can do to keep from dying of frayed nerves: complain about the cold incessantly. (If I wear better socks, this won't be an issue.) But frayed nerves are just the start, cold or not. This is easily the biggest match we've had since 2011 -- that fateful day (I needn't mention which) -- which isn't to say that we haven't had our share of big matches since.
I suppose we should be grateful or some such. Grateful to not be so terrible as we thought we'd be at the beginning of the year, I guess. Grateful to be here in a big game -- that everything's worked out as well as it has.
But right now, it's hard to feel anything but those nerves. I'm sitting here watching English Premier League games, hunched over my laptop, listening to Bill Callahan's latest, and I need a second to breathe. A second? Maybe a year would be more fitting. (Hold on -- that was some goal from Southampton. Apparently scored by Osvaldo fellow that "you would call a character.")
It's like I said before. If we didn't expect something from this match, maybe we'd be calm. (We wouldn't be.)
Anyway, 90 minutes, 120 minutes? What's the difference, really? We just have to make it through this one. But we've come this far, and we might as well continue with what we've done through the season.
We are, after all, an attacking side, and one defined by Javier Morales. (I always forget that he made only a 22-minute appearance in 2009 -- if there ever was a time for him to be supremely motivated, this is it.) I mean that in all seriousness. It's not as if the three other midfielders don't also define things, but Javier Morales makes our approach what it is. His play is more than just creative -- it's defensive, it's connective, it's simple and complex in equal measure.
Here's a thought: Ned Grabavoy played in place of Will Johnson that day in 2009. Javier Morales left early through injury (my fist shakes at you, David Beckham). Andy Williams was still in his playing days, and Yura Movsisyan wasn't yet one of the top strikers in the Russian Premier League. Robbie Findley scored our only goal.
It makes me wonder: What will we remember in four years about this game? The thought sends through me waves of anxiety. I'm not ready to wonder.
Just a few hours now. I'll leave you with some music.