It's that time of year again! Break out your aluminum poles, get ready to air some grievances, warm up for the feats of strength -- and there may even be a Festivus miracle.
The Festivus Pole(s)
This year's Festivus Pole goes to Juan Agudelo, for hitting the woodwork twice against Philadelphia back in April.
Here's the first. And the second. Not the best day (in terms of end product) for The Great Hope of American soccer. This game was in some ways a reflection of his season -- he is undoubtedly talented, but no one can be sure whether he will be able to fix the many problems with his game and fulfill his potential: becoming the first top-level striker that the United States has produced. He's at a tipping point, and the difference between being the next Clint Dempsey (or better) and the next Freddy Adu is both as small and as large as a few inches on a crossbar or post.
The Airing of Grievances
Mehdi Ballouchy, Brian Nielsen, Rafa Márquez, and Greg Sutton: you have all disappointed me greatly over the past year.
Mehdi, your languid playing style is frequently mistaken (read: is not mistaken) for a lack of commitment on your part to the Red Bulls' cause. Start running, either on the pitch, or to another team.
Brian, get fit or go back to Denmark.
Rafa, I have nothing to say to you. Stand in that corner until your contract is up.
Greg, best of luck in Montreal. You need it.
Honorable mention to Tim Ream for falling off a cliff after the first seven games.
[I'm keeping Backe and Solér out to prevent any further gnashing of teeth over whether or not they should stay -- they are staying.]
The Feats of Strength
We have several choices! First, Joel Lindpere's brilliant solo goal against the swamp-dwellers in April.
Next, the Henry-Lindpere-Henry-da Luz-Henry combination goal against Portland.
Finally, THAT Thierry Henry goal against Dallas.
The Festivus Miracle
That we even made the playoffs after such a mediocre regular season.
Happy Holidays, season's greetings, all that fun stuff to you, our fine readers. Enjoy the holiday(s) with football (either code) and basketball and hockey (or whatever people do when they're not watching or playing sports).
For a last bit of holiday cheer...just watch this again. And again. And again.