The World Cup comes around once every four years, as we all know. The spaces between and the attached anticipation mean everything is super-mega-magnified once the event finally arrives.
Score a goal at the World Cup and you may have made yourself rich. Talk shows want your time and politicians seek your endorsement. Score two and they might just start renaming major cities in your honor.
So it goes with stand-up performance in goal or in defense, too.
Well, I hate to kill the buzz here, but that coin has a less lovely side, too.
Mistakes in a World Cup are all magnified too, big ol’ ‘roided up monsters, in fact. They stand out like scabby, festering puss-filled sores on your forehead. They can sure ruin an afternoon – and they can even stain a career in some cases. They can happen in an instant, and they land with no prejudice.
Zinedine Zidane was a remarkable player, whose career was full of beautiful work and achievement. He scored twice in a World Cup final, for goodness sakes. Alas, you can’t think too long about “Zizou” without images of his mad moment in
This brings us to Altidore ...
Over the weekend, a little tiff with
Don’t think for a second that Bob Bradley won’t factor in such foolishness (and potential for more) as he selects starting lineups in June. It was always a stretch to think that Altidore, just 20 years old, could make a mark in
But Altidore was probably going to have a chance, at least, due to the major dearth of
Altidore may yet get a big chance, but the odds just fell. A forward arrangement that includes Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey or both creeps ever closer. (That’s not a bad thing in itself, of course, but not ideal for the scheme Bradley wants to play.)
Altidore simply can’t do anything imprudent or outright foolish this summer in
How far back do you want to go, reliving mistakes and their impact at the top level? Brad Friedel not coming for a free kick in 2002? Jeff Agoos’ misplaced clearances in
How about others, those not in
I have no idea if Altidore learned from Saturday’s offense. Nor does Bradley, truly. The
It all must be factored in by the