Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote

Posted on May 3, 2011 7:55 am

Wow, I’m getting called out by name a lot these days.

Okay, fine – David Beckham came back in time to play against Dallas. I thought he wouldn’t, and he did. Thanks.

Now, if you take that in a vacuum, Beckham did a Good Thing. However, the only reason he made such an effort to be back was because for several years now, he’s made no effort for the Galaxy. And people have noticed.

Would he have made it back to Frisco if he hadn’t been criticized for missing Galaxy training camp in February? Or if he hadn’t had several bad games to start the season? Or if he hadn’t been criticized for ridiculously rough play so far this season? Eric Hassli might have rolled up cards in a hurry, but one of Hassli’s cards was pure crap – the extra shirt goal celebration. Beckham was suspended for yellow accumulation just as quickly, and several of his yellows could have been straight reds.

Would Beckham have made it to the Galaxy game if this wasn’t his contract year? If he wasn’t trying to prove his relevance to Fabio Capello and Harry Redknapp?

No. Because he shouldn’t have played. If this was the very first time Beckham chose to take time away from the Galaxy, it would have been understandable. Bruce Arena even gave Beckham permission to miss the Dallas game.

But Beckham played, precisely because he wanted recognition for it. The only team Beckham plays for is Team Beckham. If he plays well for the Galaxy – if he plays at all for the Galaxy – it’s because he feels it’s in his self-interest.

And so, God punished him by making him stand out in the rain for 83 minutes.

Anyway, like Bill said, I could not be less objective about David Beckham at this point. But Beckham’s MLS tenure so far can be declared a failure in a couple of objective ways. The Beckhams’ mission was to make both David and Victoria in to mainstream American stars. That hasn’t happened, and it won’t happen. Yes, the Beckhams were invited to the royal wedding. So was Guy Ritchie. Seen “Swept Away?” So was Elton John – quick, what was the title of his last single? Thought so.

Beckham’s failed struggle to leave MLS from, oh, 2009 or so did nothing for the league’s prestige. Nor did his admittance – if not insistence – that MLS time was not good enough to qualify for a World Cup roster. (Meanwhile, there are now eighteen teams in MLS, and Robert Green would start for none of them.)

Fine, Beckham didn’t invent coming over to MLS thinking it would be a pleasant little retirement – Lothar Matthaeus did. At least Jorge Campos treated the league like a part time job. And Hong-Myung Bo made all three of those guys look like Frankie Hejduk in the 2002 World Cup.

But those guys were all gone within two years, max. When Beckham arrived, no one had ever heard of Justin Bieber. No one thought we’d ever have a black President. Sarah Palin had just become governor of Alaska. Brett Favre played for the Packers. Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Jackson, and Evel Knievel were all still alive. In short, it was a hundred years ago, and the joke is well and truly over.

And he couldn’t get Zidane to come to MLS.

Zizou probably would have humiliated the league, if the 2005 friendly against the Galaxy was anything to go by. But it would have been sensational to watch.

Why am I blaming Beckham for Zidane’s non-arrival? Because I hate Beckham. Hm, maybe Bill has a point.

But you can’t argue with Beckham’s success. For the second year in a row, his Los Angeles Galaxy are the MLS Champions of April.

“Who cares?”, you ask, and this year, more than ever you are correct. Over the past few years I found it of passing interest to see whether a fast start pays off in MLS – what happens more often than not is, there is no correlation between having the best record in April and actually winning anything – even the Supporters Shield. Last year was, frankly, a fluke.

This year, the Galaxy retained their April title, largely because they’ve played about half their season already. It isn’t just Salt Lake that could blow by them, although with four games in hand it’s hard to see how they couldn’t – the freaking Philadelphia Union are only two points behind LA, with three games in hand.

It’s things like this that completely devalue that Championship of April.

Anyway, here’s the updated list:

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

2011: Los Angeles Galaxy (fate to be determined, but it doesn’t look good) (includes March)
2010: Los Angeles Galaxy (Supporters Shield) (includes March)
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)[/quote]

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