The cruelest month

To which game is the author referring?

1. August 10, 2008, US Olympic Team v. Holland

2. January 24, 2009, US National Team v. Sweden

3. March 28, 2009, World Cup qualifying, US National Team v. El Salvador

4. June 18, 2009, Confederations Cup, US National Team v. Brazil

5. Tonight against the freaking San Jose Earthquakes.

If you chose "5," then send a writing sample to Major League Soccer Soccer, where the extra "s" is for "hyperbole."

Don't believe me?

It's my own damn fault, of course. After all, the whole premise was that Edson Buddle was tearing it up against MLS opposition. This led to some conclusions of varying logical quality.

Top of the list - if the Kansas City Wizards can shut out Buddle, how easy will it be for England? The Wizards, at the moment, play on a foosball table, whereas the fields in South Africa will be of regulation size. But nevertheless, a valid point. Upon Buddle's goal-scoring rock, I built the Church of What's Happening Now. If Buddle isn't scoring anymore, then why take him? Hopefully next week Edson gets a couple against the Keystone Kops.

As for Herc...well, Puebla's season is over, so either he's made his case or he never will. I *think* Herc won the Bicentennial scoring title, but the Mexican football league, as with all things Mexican, confuses and frightens me and my suburban world-view. But he can't add to his legend any more, at least not for this World Cup...unless he switches nationalities and Aguirre calls him up at literally the last second. If Aguirre did this, I would have a new favorite national team.

And the most insidious conclusion is, just because Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez post literally unprecedented achievements for American players, that means any two-bit pisher hit with the luck virus for an afternoon has a claim to play in the World Freaking Cup.

Case in point, our opening quote. The past isn't prologue, the past isn't even past. The past just isn't. A solid year of failure for both club and country? Why bring up old stuff?

"But hey, how come you shill for players you like when they have a convenient hot streak, but ignore players you don't like?"

Because Sacha had his chance, and he blew it, that's why.

Also because Kljestan plays a different position, one where the US is much deeper. But this stopped being about rationality weeks ago.

"But if Buddle had been called in last year, he probably would have been at least as terrible as Robbie Findley."

Yes, because he was hurt all last year!

"But Herc played all last year in MLS, and didn't do anything for...was it Kansas City or Colorado last year? Or both? I forget. That's how unmemorable he was."

Sure, because he's a better forward than midfielder! It's about the position.

"So if Brian McBride gets a hat trick next week, you'll support him for the national team?"

Sure! I guess! Why not! We need a forward from somewhere!

"And if Ante Razov comes back and scores a hat trick next week you'll support him for the national team?"

....

...you know, I've always said that Bob Bradley should play Landon Donovan up top.

________________________

But one thing you will never be able to take away from Edson Buddle. He is unquestionably the MVP of this year's Champions of April, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Last year, I forgot to commemorate the greatest achievement in sports, the MLS Championship of April. As you can see from the below list, in 2008, the Champions of April were the Crew - who went on to win the double. Destroying the theory behind the Champions of April award, which is that it's usually the only thing said team wins that year.

So I have to look up who was best as of April 30 of last year. But that's just a matter of going to MLSNet and...oh, GOD DAMN IT, the NEW FREAKING SITE...no, why would it have day-to-day results from previous seasons, or any kind of history page at all, no one used it, apparently, except long-suffering bloggers.

I'm going to have to go by memory here, after the Great Gazoogle's cache's only gave me hints and clues. That's probably the other reason I didn't give out the award - I hate that particular team so much, and I was convinced that they were overrated and useless.

Nevertheless, belated congratulations to the Los Angeles Sol, who did end up winning the regular season after their great start, but lost in....

Wait, wrong overrated unpopular Home Depot Center Renter. Last year's MLS Champions of April were (I'm pretty sure) Chivas USA. That's the first championship ever for the Taco Bell of American soccer, and the 2009 Championship of April trophy will fit very well next to the 2007 Honda Superclasico.

In any case, the Champions of April premise has a new lease on life. Sadly, this year it's my favorite team walking the plank, and not the Enemy. If the German language doesn't have a word for "suffering the same misfortune that you mocked in others," then allow me to coin "Schadeboomerangenfreude" for the occasion.

The Galaxy wins this a lot, too. Just noticed that. Oh, well.

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS OF APRIL (and how they ended up doing)

2009: Chivas USA (nothin', and a nightmare MLS Cup matchup to boot)
2008: Columbus Crew (Shield and MLS Cup - first success for the Champions of April since they contracted a couple of teams)
2007: New York Red Bulls (nothin', hobbled off in the first round along with Angel)
2006: Kansas City Wizards (at least they made the playoffs - oh, wait)
2005: New England Revolution (nothin', but at least they went to MLS Cup)
2004: Los Angeles Galaxy (nothin')
2003: Tie between San Jose (MLS Cup) and Columbus (missed playoffs entirely)
2002: Three way tie between San Jose, Colorado, and the Metrostars (nothin' all around) (includes March) (in other words, I didn't feel like looking up goal differential for these years)
2001: Miami Fusion (won Shield)
2000: Kansas City Wizards (won Shield and MLS Cup) (includes March)
1999: Chicago Fire (won Open Cup) (includes March)
1998: Los Angeles Galaxy (Shield, didn't enter Open Cup) (includes March)
1997: DC United (Shield and MLS Cup) (includes March)
1996: Los Angeles Galaxy (nothin' - went to MLS Cup, didn’t enter Open Cup)