Per ardua ad Altidore?

Before we begin, let's all shake our righteous heads at hockey hooligans. Although I can understand Vancouver fans being upset - I didn't even know UCLA had a hockey team.

Back to Gold Cup coverage. We have a special guest here on the blog - sports fan and dictator, Fidel Sarcastro. Nice to have you with us, Fidel!

Oh, it's a real honor for me to be here.

Have you been enjoying the Gold Cup so far?

Have I ever! Although I wish they'd stop pointing out how defective my players are.

Right...

But let's talk about how great the US team was! So what if people are saying that beating Guadaloupe is as impressive as beating Staten Island. Me, I wish I could watch the US play every single day!

Okay, I think we get the -

That's why Mexico brought black uniforms - so you can't see them crapping their pants in FEAR!

Yes, well, that's -

Hey, can you tell Commissioner Garber that he can have all the cigars he wants, if I get a DVD of "Scoring With Confidence the Clint Dempsey Way."

Look, that's quite -

Preferably the Criterion edition, with commentary by Diego Maradona saying how the perfect team would have US finishing, Canadian goalkeepers, Guadaloupe's discipline, and Mexican beef.

Very funny. I think we're out of time. Fidel Sarcastro, everyone.

So, are you going to pay royalties to The Tick for this bit?

Shut up.

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Let's focus on the positive for a second. I really like the lineup Fox Soccer Channel has these days. No, I'm not being sarcastic. That was earlier.

I've always liked Wynalda. I've always liked Christopher Sullivan, although sure, he can be the first mate of the USS Pretentious. Cobi brings a surprising amount of perspective to the table while avoiding Eric's invitations to reminisce about the 90's. I think Kyle Martino is a terrific color man, although maybe I'm simply comparing him favorably to John Harkes. Brian Dunseth, perhaps because he's not trying to get bland soundbites from coaches, has been able to give actual information from his behind-the-goal exile. And JP Dellacamera is the guy who should have been calling US World Cup games all these years.

Also, I think this game could be a turning point for Jozy Altidore.

Again, I believe I said I wasn't being sarcastic anymore. That is the kind of goal that rebuilds confidence. You can't say it was because of the low level of competition, because Altidore was covered quite well, and he was well outside of the penalty area. There are forwards who would have trouble making that shot against thin air - and up until the Guadaloupe game, I'd have put Altidore among them.

Now he knows he can score again - and not just when the goalkeeper is being kind. If the Guadaloupe game has any tangible, far-reaching effect, it will be because of that goal.

So maybe it's insane to think that one play can turn around a career? Fine, think of the Guadeloupe goal as a sign that Altidore's difficult times are over, instead of the cause. Heck, if you like, you can give Lars Hirschfeld the credit, and claim that cheap goal led to one much, much more impressive.

A confident, assertive Jozy can make a monstrous difference for the United States, starting Sunday. Okay, so he was great against Guadaloupe, and didn't bring the team along...but against Jamaica, the team will take the field knowing for a fact that Altidore is back in form.

And not to belabor the obvious, but Altidore is only 21. I don't think we've begun to see what he can do. If Altidore does break out, this Gold Cup could turn around for us just like the Confederations Cup did, and all the talk about the US being at its post-Sampson nadir could sound very silly in retrospect.

Yeah, I've heard of Eddie Johnson. Plays for the Timbers. But I don't think he's eligible for the US, so I don't know why you bring him up.