Near Post Tony

I'll admit up front that I've never been a big fan of Tony Meola's. Not to begrudge the guy his due, but if it hadn't been for Kasey Keller's big mouth ("I'm a better keeper than Meola and should start for the US") which pissed off Bora (coupled with the fact that Bora was an odd bird anyway) and reportedly Keller's refusal to wear adidas gloves, Meola would be just another old MLS keeper instead of a semi-retired World Cup 94 hero.

Yes, I'm leaving aside the horrendous blunder against Romania. You can't go into the World Cup with a keeper whose highest previous recent level of competition is the Buffalo Blizzards and expect him to be anything like perfect.

Conversely, while a lot of people thought that Bruce Arena taking Meola to Korea/Japan over, say, Tim Howard, was the height of absurdity, I thought it was a stroke of Brucian genius: if your third keeper has to go into a World Cup game it means that disaster has hit and it's panic time.

In a situation like that, with all the marbles on the table and with 70,000 screaming fans and a worldwide TV audience of a couple bazillion, who's the one guy who can hear the coach call his name and start pulling on his gloves without simultaneously crapping his pants?

That would be Tony.

In any case, our freind Beau Dure in USA Today HAS AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW UP, WITH AN INTERESTING GUY

And honestly, the fans loudly beeping as Tony backs up is a memory that will linger forever.