Let's be blunt: The Minnesota Thunder's 2009 season has gotten off to a dreadful start. They're 0-4 and have scored a scant five goals while allowing a league-worst nine. They couldn't even beat the upstart Austin Aztex in the franchise's first game. But, until the state lands a Major League Soccer franchise (and don't hold your breath—the MLS is adding new teams for the 2011 season, and none closer to us than Portland), the Thunder and their United Soccer League opponents are the best teams we'll have the opportunity to see. Losses aside, there is one super-awesome reason to head out to Blaine this summer: beer. New this season at the National Sports Center is the Thunder Lounge Beer Garden, a giant wooden deck, scarcely 15 feet from the field, that serves up brews to Thunder fans, who may need to imbibe to help them through the match. If all goes according to plan, the lounge, which boasts a 40-foot bar, will host post-game parties (or sorrow-drowning). Maybe it won't be all that bad for Thunder fans this summer.
Sun., May 31, 5:05 p.m., 2009