So it's Award Season in MLS, and the arguments over MVP are raging. I'm one of those people who usually default to best player on the best team, especially if there's a standout performer without whom said team would be screwed.
To me, unless Salt Lake or Chris Wondolowski have amazing weekends, that's going to be Edson Buddle. The Galaxy's goal differential right now is entirely due to Buddle's scoring. When Buddle joined the team, I sneered at the idea that "Buddy Edsel" would contribute. Well, I missed that call pretty badly. He's been astonishing this year, and would be a worthy MVP candidate.
Almost no one agrees. As far as I can tell, he's not even in the conversation. This could be the first year since 1998 where the scoring champion isn't even an MVP finalist.
"But Stern John was snubbed justly back then, because Etcheverry, Cobi and Peter Nowak had better years," you respond instantly, drawing on your encyclopedic knowledge of MLS history. "Similarly, while Buddle had a fantastic year, there were players who were more valuable this year, which is the definition of the award. For example, let's take that definition, 'scoring champion.' They used to give that award for a combination of goals and assists. Under THAT definition, Buddle goes into the final weekend trailing Sebastien Le Toux. Why aren't you talking him up?" For Christ's sake, you're talkative. Let me get a word in edgewise.
Fine, then. How about this. It's possible that, if Salt Lake takes care of business this weekend and the Galaxy don't, that neither the scoring champion NOR a player on the Shield winners, will have an MVP candidate. I realize the MVP race is wide open, but I can definitely see Buddle, Le Toux, Beckerman, Rimando, Olave, and Saborio all being snubbed. Justly? Probably not.
In their place might be Landon Donovan going for a repeat win, Fredy Montero, David Ferreira, Omar Cummings, or Chris Wondolowski. For the last four...you know, I draw a distinction between "they wouldn't have made the playoffs without him" when we're talking about first place versus sixth or seventh. Donovan and Buddle might have tailed off, but before they did, they got the Galaxy so far ahead that they were almost no longer needed. I am, receptive, however, to Chris Wondolowski and his eight game-winning goals. That's two more games won than DC United.
I feel like making the "Donovan and Buddle would have even better numbers if it wasn't for the World Cup" argument, but counterfactuals like that are massively annoying. If the Dynamo kept Stuart Holden, they're Cup contenders.
However, one award that Edson Buddle will definitely earn this year is the Comeback of the Year award. He missed something like eleven weeks last year, only scored five goals, and had that awful penalty kick in MLS Cup. This year, he's been absolutely splendid. I'm just going to go to the MLS site and vote right now for Buddle in this category, there's really no way he won't win.
Hello, what's this?
God, I hate the Galaxy.
So, any input on who to vote on the Assistant Referee of the Year Award?
By the way...We're back at home with the family. A.J. (the newcomer) is sleeping happily. I have been talked out of sending David Bowie-themed birth announcements with the captions "Oh! You pretty thing" and "Make way for the homo superior!" I'll post a picture at some point.