A small seating area behind goal, in the Sporting Kansas City super-fan section that’s home to the Kansas City Cauldron, was left empty Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
In that space, a Honduran flag surrounded by Sporting KC scarves and flowers was positioned next to a drum and T-shirt bearing the words “Descansa en Paz” — Spanish for “Rest in Peace.”
The day before Sporting KC’s Sunday night clash against the Seattle Sounders here, long-time Cauldron drummer Eduardo Meza died suddenly in an accident at work.
He truly was a part of the heartbeat of the Cauldron and will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/wCRY7FOcvg
— The Cauldron (@KCCauldron) September 26, 2021
“It’s just kind of crazy that we lost him like that,” said friend Brandon Taylor.
Taylor met Meza in 2014 when the latter approached during a game and asked to play the big drum located behind the goal.
“He came down and was like, ‘Hey, I wanna play the drums,’” Taylor recalled. “The guy just brought so much passion.”
The bench where Meza roamed sways back and forth, and Cauldron members joke that it’s only that way because Meza was “a jumper” and loosened the bench over time.
But Meza was more than just the drummer for Sporting KC’s supporter’s section. He was a season-ticket holder in the Cauldron, like many of the other fans who sit in the boisterous section.
Mayra Lopez of Grandview sits there and had known Meza for 16 years. They knew each other so well that Meza would call Lopez “Mom” and she considered him like her own son.
“He was like a son to me. It was very sad when I found out,” Lopez said. “He was a good guy. He was friendly to everybody and he got along with everybody. He always had a smile on his face; he’s always been like that.”
Lopez remembers Meza being inside the Budweiser Brew House, the area where those seated in the Cauldron can socialize before and after games. Meza would be playing the drums in the Brew House long after the game had ended.
Lopez was offered the chance to sit next to Meza’s spot in the Cauldron Sunday night, but she couldn’t bear to be reminded of his loss so soon. She opted to remain in her regular seat for now.
Just a couple of seats over from Meza’s spot Sunday sat Amanda Clayton of Overland Park. Clayton had sat close to Meza for more than five years. He, like many other season ticket-holders in the Cauldron, had become part of Clayton’s “summer family.”
One summer Clayton was pregnant and Meza and his group of friends would make sure during warm-ups and games that the players knew to not kick the ball in her direction.
“He always treated everyone with such respect and was always there for you,” Clayton said. “If you needed something, he was there for you.”
Cauldron president Stephanie Burton told The Star that the group is planning a tribute for Meza during Sporting KC’s game next Sunday against the Houston Dynamo at Children’s Mercy Park.