It hurts to laugh

Whenever you're feeling down, you can always count on the New York Post to cheer you up (the top headline, obviously, not the tragic and depressing one underneath.)

I have mixed feelings about the Americans' performance. All four of their games were amazing to watch, and there are almost enough good memories to last four years -- Tim Howard's game-saving performance against England, the improbable comeback against Slovenia, Landon Donovan's "golden goal," and then yesterday's nail biter with Ghana. On the other hand, they frittered away their relatively easy draw and a seeming path to the semifinals -- there may never be a better opportunity in my lifetime. No matter how much better the U.S. team gets by 2014, it's one thing to win a World Cup in South Africa, and quite another to win Brazil. (The U.S. has an excellent shot of hosting the World Cup in 2022, something to live for :-) )

The Americans need better strikers -- the maturation of Jozy Altidore will help, but they need more than that up front. And the back line needs to toughen up and not concede goals in the first 15 minutes of every bleeping game. That's why I've reached the reluctant conclusion that the U.S. soccer authorities need to thank coach Bob Bradley for his service and make another run at Jurgen Klinsmann, the German great. He did a fantastic job as Germany's coach in 2006, he's not currently employed, and he's lived in Southern California, where the U.S. team is based, most of the last 12 years. It's too perfect.

Meanwhile, I've begun making plans to go to Brazil in 2014 -- although since the Philly papers will probably be out of business I'm assuming that I'll be going there in steerage.