Will Bradley Wright-Phillips break Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski's single-season scoring record? If Bradley Wright-Phillips breaks the record, is he the MLS MVP? Even if New York misses the playoffs? If not, will Landon Donovan win the MVP award in his final season? How about if he breaks Steve Ralston's all-time assist record on the way? Does Dom Dwyer have a chance, despite being kind of not terribly famous (yet)? How about Robbie Keane, who is within a trivial distance of becoming the league's third ever 15 goal/15 assist man?
Which team is the bigger embarrassment, Chivas USA or Toronto FC?
Who will win the Supporters Shield? Which team will finish first in the regular season and then get bounced out of the playoffs in the first round?
And is anything, literally anything, less important than the Czech Republic friendly from yesterday?
I don't know. Probably, but not necessarily - Lassiter wasn't the MVP in 1996, after all. The Red Bulls aren't going to miss the playoffs, thanks to Toronto activating Operation Free Fall once again.
Might not be the BEST look for the league if its Most Valuable Player quits out of ennui. Yes, because if Donovan does break the record, he will end the season with 19 assists - the most since Barros Schelotto in 2008, who also won the MVP. (The single season record, if you're interested, is Carlos Valderrama in 2000, who posted a ridiculous 26. No one else has ever had more than 19.)
Only if New York misses the playoffs and/or he doesn't manage to pass Wright-Phillips, and if Donovan doesn't keep assisting better than Smithers. Keane should get consideration - the last 15/15 player was with the freaking Miami Fusion - but Diego Serna (the Fusioneer it was) lost the MVP award to his teammate, Alex Pineda Chacon. Serna had EXACTLY 15/15, though, and Keane will have done better. I'm assuming Keane gets this mark as a foregone conclusion at this point, unless his legs fall off or something.
So when the Revolution out-Jermained Toronto last weekend, my initial thought was, that should do it for the Shield, but now TFC can focus on the playoffs. Then Toronto completely panicked. It was a return to form for Toronto, who spent many days this season in danger of being seen as a marginally competent organization. Michael Bradley isn't going to win CONCACAF Player of the Year again this year (unless I go into full troll mode), but I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that he is helping his marginal club and country overachieve, not underachieve.
That said - all you need to know about what will hopefully be the last ever Chivas USA-Galaxy match is that Landon Donovan was cheered off the field at a Chivas home game. You could make the case that Chivas USA fans were simply being unusually respectful. You could also make the case that "Do the Clam" should replace "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem, while you're at it. With the possible - POSSIBLE - exception of San Jose, there's no club team on Earth who had less business awarding Landon Donovan with anything other than enshrinement in the Order of the Middle Finger. Then again, if Chivas USA fans were going to get mad at a guy, Donovan probably doesn't make the round of 16 - and that's if you don't award the top ten slots to Jorge Vergara by himself. His most lasting influence on American soccer will be the Galaxy's Herbalife partnership, and his second-most lasting influence will be to have devalued soccer in Los Angeles as much as any Kraft could have dreamed. I have no earthly conception how a second team in Los Angeles is going to function, or how such a thing will help the Galaxy. And this isn't an Orioles-Nationals thing going on, either - it's asinine for single entity to go to such great lengths to prevent competition over players, yet compete with itself for the same fans. At least NYCFC, almost as unjustifiable an enterprise, has its competition in a different freaking building.
By the way, having the Galaxy wear their black uniforms knowing perfectly well that one of the most prominent CUSA fan groups is called "The Black Army" was a move of such towering douchebaggery that I wish I had thought of it. There was a nice little shot of the "For Sale" signs that the Black Army had bedecked their section with, so at least some of their fanbase has kept a sense of humor. They'll need it, they might always need it.
I think DC will win the Supporters Shield, because they have such a cuddly schedule left. That Seattle-LA two game showdown at the end of the season has "Two ties and don't get hurt for the playoffs" written all over it. And yes, I think DC is this year's First Place Fraud. There's always one, sometimes more than one. The last time both #1 seeds met in the final was 2003. Since then both conference winners even made it out of the first round a grand total of once. Blame the MLS Maximum Ambush playoff structure if you like, but out of Seattle, LA, and DC, who do YOU think will crash and burn first? Ben Olsen will win Coach of the Year, just to make it even more inevitable.
Well, sure, lots of things are less important than the US national team right now. You just wouldn't know it from the lineup we sent to Czechistan. Apparently we won, and apparently Nick Rimando is the keeper of the future or something. My problem is, I need to stop listening to our coach. Because stuff like this is on my last nerve:
“There is a mental and psychological transition we have to go through to get that confidence and attitude to say, ‘No, we start that way from the first minute on, and not when we are a goal down.’ Now we suddenly take the game to the opponent. Now we suddenly put them under pressure. Now we suddenly raise the bar in terms of aggressiveness,” Klinsmann said. “We want to become this proactive team. We want to go eye-to-eye. We want to take it their opponent, no matter what their big name is.”
Klinsmann has been preaching proactivity and possession since he took over three years ago. But he’s also confessed that the collective mentality and confidence has been lacking. Part of instilling that mindset has been a focus on youth, which was evident in Brazil.
THREE YEARS AGO. That was an entire World Cup qualifying cycle. They shut out Mexico in Mexico. They made it through the Group of Death, and they did a hell of a lot better against Germany than, to pick an example at random, Brazil. If confidence and mentality is lacking, maybe that particular fish ought to have its head examined.
Then again, I should be used to it by now - Klinsmann is stringing together words for the benefit of mainstream sports people who learned nothing from when Steve Sampson promised exciting soccer. As long as the players don't mind having their mentality and poise questioned every press conference, then great.