The timing of it was comical, appropriate and ironic at the same time.
As U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann fielded questions from reporters on Thursday about everything from his approach to the annual January training camp, to Landon Donovan's future, Jozy Altidore was in the midst of another multiple-goal output. Altidore tackled two more goals onto his season tally, now 11 across all competitions, and his roster snub for the U.S. men's previous two World Cup qualifiers still has not subsided from the American soccer conversation. When Altidore's status with Klinsmann was raised, the coach known for his rosy outlook and chipper, sometimes elaborate answers threw a bit of a curveball.
"We've had no further contact since (the roster snub), and I haven't made up my mind yet if I'll call him in for Russia," said Klinsmann, tersely.
It's not too difficult to read between the lines, and it would seem as if a call-up for the Nov. 14 friendly with Fabio Capello's side in Krasnodar is either unlikely or one that will be made only out of necessity due to the MLS forward contingent that is still alive in the playoffs.
All this for a still-peaking forward who turned 23 on Tuesday, and, assuming the United States qualifies for multiple World Cups going forward, one who will have as many as three more World Cups in his career (24, 28 and 32 are certainly reasonable ages for international strikers). With Altidore's career being at such an important stage, it would benefit both he and Klinsmann to find a way to get past this unusual detour (when did consistent goal-scorers in Europe become luxuries for the USA?) and move forward with the World Cup qualifying hexagonal on the horizon.
As for other Americans, scoreboard production continued elsewhere. In addition to Altidore's goal, Terrence Boyd and the still-kicking Oguchi Onyewu found the back of the net in cup play on the heels of a two goal weeks from Herculez Gomez, and Eric Lichaj. Sacha Kljestan, Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson all delivered assists. Here's how they and the other Americans playing abroad fared over the course of the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):