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Tuesday 10/XI Archives

The Tuesday Ten: MLS Goes to Hollywood

By Eric Betts / Senior List Making Correspondent

Like Hollywood executives and soccer front offices everywhere, we're firm believers here that you can never have too much of a good thing. So after the runaway success of the ingenious Mike Magee's Day Off last week, here are ten other movie classics KickTV should look into putting their own spin on.

1. The Wizards of Oz: There's no place like home for this Kansas-based cast. FCKC Rookie of the Year winner Erika Tymrak stars as Dorothy alongside SKC's Matt Besler (Scarecrow), Aurelien Collin (Tin Man) and Graham Zusi (Cowardly Lion). The Original Wizard, Preki, returns to plays the big man himself, while CJ Sapong and Benny Feilhaber fill in as the Good and Wicked witches.

2. The Philadelphia Story: Why bother with Rocky when you can have Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath and Brian Carroll competing for the affections of lovely team owner Kelley O'Hara? No, you really want Rocky? Fine. Local-ish boy (Andrew Wenger) trained by ancient bruiser (Conor Casey) to fight charismatic champion (Dom Dwyer). Done.

3. The Sandlot: Since it was filmed on location in Salt Lake City, this one's easy:

Smalls - Luis GIl
Benny - Nick Rimando
Ya-Ya - Javier Morales
Ham - Nat Borchers
Squints - Sebastian Velasquez
Kenny - Ned Grabavoy
Timmy - Joao Plata
Tommy - Alvaro Saborio
Bertram - Devon Sandoval
The Beast - Kyle Beckerman
James Earl Jones - Chris Schuler

4. Clerks: Everyone's favorite New Jersey team stars in this quintessential New Jersey film. Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty play futsal on the roof as Dante and Randal, while Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry costar as Jay and Silent Bob.

5. Fargo: North Dakota/Minnesota are basically America's Canada anyway, so our friends from the Great White North take the lead on this one. Christine Sinclair as Marge Gunderson. Jay DeMerit gets to play with his Upper Midwest inflections as Jerry Lundegaard, with Steve Nash filling in capably as overbearing father-in-law Wade Gustafson. Michael Bradley and Marco Di Vaio fit perfectly into the Peter Stromare and Steve Buscemi parts, eh?

6. Pulp Fiction: This L.A. classic gets a mostly L.A. cast: Robbie Rogers as Vincent; Gyasi Zardes as Jules, Carlos Bocanegra as Butch, Mauro Rosales as Lance, and the back of Bruce Arena's head as Marcellus Wallace, you know, during his tamer scenes. Omar rides his strong performance in the Magee video to a spot as the Wolf, where his skill at arriving at the last minute to put out fires comes in handy. Sprinkle in Kekuta Manneh as Marvin (sorry Kekuta) and Megan Rapinoe as Mia Wallace, and you're in for another classic. What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Leeds, Vincent?

7. The Rock: Experienced veteran stuck in a bad situation (Chris Wondolowski) helps unexperienced younger man (Tommy Thompson) break into heavily fortified Bay Area compound guarded by team of highly trained killers (Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, uhh, Clarence Goodson) and their leader (Victor Bernardez). Gratuitous late fireworks for everyone!

8. Dazed and Confused: Austin doesn't have an MLS team, so the Texas teams come together for this bit of Linklater genius. Young Kellyn Acosta spends much of the movie fleeing from Ben Affleck-impersonating bully Tally Hall. Matt Hedges gets top billing as Randall "Pink" Floyd, but we all know the real star is Brad Davis, who gets to feel the wind in his (fake) hair again as Wooderson, all right?

9. Boondock Saints: Lot of options for Boston, but who wants to see Kelyn Rowe as Will Hunting when you can have Andrew Farrell and Diego Fagundez in black trenchcoats terminating mobsters with extreme prejudice?

10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Alex Morgan sheds her America's Sweetheart image with a chilling turn as Nurse Ratched. Liam Ridgewell as the edgy outsider who shakes things up in the ward by reenacting a World Cup game the inmates are forbidden from watching. Featuring Donovan Ricketts as Chief Bromden, Diego Valeri as uptight Dale Harding, Darlington Nagbe as Charlie Cheswik, Will Johnson as the stuttering Billy Bibbit, and the Timbers Army as everyone else.

About Eric

Eric Betts is a freelancer writer who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and his dog Lando (yup). While attending the Emory University he won "College Jeopardy". His pop culture references end somewhere around 2002.

Tags: Eric Betts, The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: Fight Club Edition

By Eric Betts / Senior Jeopardy Winner Correspondent

To our mind, the assistant coaches of Manchester City did us all a great disservice last week when they broke up that little dust-up between Mario Balotelli and his manager Roberto Mancini. We would have let it progress at least to the point where Mancini pulls a switchblade and Balotelli breaks a beer bottle on the bench and they proceed to try to cut each other like it's the end of the "Beat It" music video, just to see how it would have turned out.

At least it wasn't a total loss. The Italian throwdown got us thinking of how other soccer stars would fare if pitted against each other in single combat. Here are ten likely fighters, along with some of their secret movesets. 

1. Fighter: Arjen “Glass Joe” Robben
Special: Form is Temporary, Glass is Permanent - The opponent’s next strike leaves him or her embedded with shards of that do persistent damage through the rest of the bout.
Finisher: Blown Breakaway - Runs toward the opponent at high speed, trips, and crashes into him or her as the ball rolls harmlessly by.

2. Fighter:  Brek “Terry Bogard” Shea
Special: Scissors Kick - A series of high kicks with his razor-sharp boot does damage to both the opponent’s life bar and hairstyle.
Finisher: Next Big Thing - Commits seppuku on the arena floor and is reborn as Josh Gatt, who ends the fight with a flying jump kick.

3. Fighter: Nigel “Sub Zero” de Jong
Special: Bad Reputation - Throws the yellow and red cards he’s accumulated over the years like ninja stars.
Finisher: Media Outcry - Feigns a high kick to the chest, then allows the stampeding pundits and photographers to crush his opponent for him.

4. Fighter: Herculez “Ultimo Dragon” Gomez
Special: Lost His Place - Pulls out the latest new coach to drop him from the starting line-up upon taking over and breaks him over the opponent’s head.
Finisher: O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Uses to Twitter to summon his brother, MMA fighter Ulysses, and the two of them tag-team the opponent.

5. Fighter: Darijo “Drago” Srna
Special: Where on Earth is Shakhtar? - Hands opponent a map with Donetsk circled in red. Kicks through the map, catching him or her off-guard.
Finisher: Talent Pipeline - Opens Shakhtar’s magic portal/warp pipe/Stargate over the opponent, causing 50 talented Brazilian players to fall out and crush him or her. 

6. Fighter: Zlatan “Sagat” Ibrahimovic
Special: Good Feet for a Big Man - An audacious backflip snap-kick that other players wouldn’t even think about executing.
Finisher: Mercenary - Sends word through the media to have his next big-money suitor back their truckloads of money over his opponent.

7. Fighter: Andres “Pikachu” Iniesta
Special: Tiki-Taka - Throws a stack of plaudits written about Barcelona, causing hundreds of paper cuts that each do miniscule damage.
Finisher: Beat the Trap - Lobs a high pass over the head of the opponent, where Lionel Messi appears from behind and brutally finishes from close range.

8. Fighter: Alex “Chun Li” Morgan
Special: Cross Promotion - Overwhelms opponents by striking them with her Nike gear, her charity work, her endorsement deals, and her upcoming young-adult books.
Finisher: Delay of Game - A referee appears from off-screen, slapping a Canada maple leaf on the opponent and holding her in place, allowing Morgan to get in a free, soul-destroying header.

9. Fighter: Big Sam “Goro” Allardyce
Special: Get Stuck In - A brutal reducer that does double damage if the opponent is facing away from Sam.
Finisher: Route One - Grabs the ball and boots it right down the opponent’s throat until he or she chokes to death on it.

10. Fighter: Sepp “The Mysterious Mr. Han” Blatter
Special: Welcome to Transparency - Reveals a pane of glass behind which can be seen the inner financial workings of FIFA, then smashes the opponent’s head through it.
Finisher: Release the Troll - Morphs into his final form, a monstrous, 50-foot high beast, squishes the opponent beneath his toes, then jams his foot deep into his own mouth.

About Eric

Eric Betts is a freelancer writer who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and his dog Lando (yup). He is a contributing writer for "The Other 87 Minutes", their brilliance featured every Tuesday on the Free Beer Movement in the form of "the Tuesday 10" or the "Tuesday XI". While attending the Emory University he won "College Jeopardy".

Tags: Eric Betts, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: MLS Crystal Ball Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes"Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

The 2012 MLS season may have only ended on Saturday, but we, like Real Salt Lake, are of the opinion that it's never too early to start looking ahead to next year. To that end, here's a preview of the next twelve months of MLS headlines.

Have I told you about this Omar kid yet?

December 2012: Jurgen Klinsmann tells the media during a press conference call that if Bruce Arena has so many opinions about Omar Gonzalez's national team future, then maybe he'd like to just go ahead and come coach the team himself and see what's it like, eh? He then mutters something about how that ought to keep him quiet.

January: Klinsmann calls up Gonzalez to the January camp. Gonzo scores twice against their friendly opponents playing as the target forward in a 4-3-3, a positional change that provides the dual advantage of giving the U.S. a strong, physical presence up top and keeps Gonzalez far, far away from noted knee-assassin Timmy Chandler.

February: Teammates catch Matt "The Roomba" Besler in the act of trying to tear his own ACL in a bid to become the next Omar Gonzalez.

March: Excited fans in Edmonton are disappointed to learn that their country actually didn't place another team in MLS this year. Maybe next time, guys. (Probably not though).

April: Juan Agudelo goes missing after a home loss to Montreal.

May: Frank Lampard arrives in MLS and finds, much to everyone's surprise, that he can't play in the same midfield as Marcelo Sarvas either.

June: MLS doldrums.

July: A bathtub held afloat by hundreds of children's Water Wings washes up on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, containing a starved and unkempt Juan Agudelo, whose only words before he collapses of dehydration and exhaustion are "Rave Green."

August: After a disappointing start to the season, New York Red Bulls attempt to ensure playoff qualification by emptying their Scrooge McDuck-style vault of allocation money to buy all the players on all the other teams in MLS.   

September: After taking the first six months of the season off, the Dynamo begin showing up to games again.

Landon?

October: A heated three-way race for the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot comes down to the final tiebreaker, a head-to-head-to-head "World Cup" game between two-man teams from Houston, Columbus, and New York. Kasey Keller comes out of retirement to be the goalkeeper.

November: Somewhere in the American desert, a lone wanderer hitches up his horse, strides through the saloon doors of the local watering hole, and asks that the TV be changed over to the MLS Cup Final. The locals never heard from the short, balding stranger again, but eyewitness accounts say at one point during the second half he pointed to the television and said, “That was me once. A long time ago.”

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: Major League Soccer, The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Mother Russia Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

We couldn’t finish our coverage of the USMNT’s game against Russia without also giving you a squad full of the best Russian names and faces an oil oligarch can buy. We've lined them up in the kind of 4-3-3 where we expect a level of play from each according to his or her ability, and divy up chances to each according to his or her needs.

Kandinsky's diagram of a set piece.

GK – Wassily Kandinsky – A master of the game’s geometry, he derives meaning from the chaos of the game around him to always arrive at the right point to make the save.

LB – Catherine the Great – Keeps an iron grip on the homefront while pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy into enemy territory.

LCB – Ivan Drago – Dropped from the squad after his controversial “I fight for me! For me!” comments, management eventually decided they couldn’t keep the most perfectly trained athlete ever away from the team.

RCB – Vladimir Putin – Hell, he’s done everything else.

RB – Garry Kasparov – Is constantly thinking so far ahead of his opposite attacker that he’s already taken the ball and crossed it for an assist by the time they realize they don’t have it anymore.

Pajitnov putting in time in the film room.

Regista – Alexey Pajitnov – The inventor of Tetris excels at squeezing passes into tight spaces to his midfield colleagues, and at clearing his team’s defensive lines by knocking long passes to the flanks.

LCM – Yuri Gargarin – Excels at getting into space before anyone else.  

RCM – Zangief – This Street Fighter may look big and bruising, but he’s also got a mean 360 spin to go through defenders.

LW – Sergei Kravinoff – Spider-Man’s old foe Kraven the Hunter combines a poacher’s instinct for pouncing on chances will all the superhuman size, speed and strength that mysterious jungle potion can buy.

CF – Mikhail Baryshnikov – Central defenders who overlook the 5’6” forward because of his stature will find themselves ouvert up in no time as he jetés past them to get on the end of his teammate’s passé.

RW – Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov – Coaches have found that it’s best to just give him a completely free role; he’s just going to neglect defensive duties as beneath him anyway.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: Hearts on Fire Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Tomorrow the USMNT faces Russia, where calling soccer a "commie pinko sport" is a compliment. Here are ten possible scenarios for how this game could play out.

1. The “I Can Change, You Can Change, Everybody Can Change” Scenario
Despite suffering a severe emotional blow when noted Russian giant Andrey Arshavin murders Claudio Reyna shortly before the match kicks off, the U.S. refuses to give up despite surrendering two early goals and emerges victorious on a diving Michael Bradley header with seconds left on the clock. The Russian fans are so moved by the courage of the performance, that Putin agrees to let the U.S. host the 2018 World Cup.

2. The “Never Get Involved In A Land War in Asia” Scenario
The U.S. takes an extremely proactive approach, pinning the Russians back with their possession and ball circulation. But the backline sits deep to nullify the Russians’ pace, supply lines get thinned, and moves break down as they crash against the Russian defense, leaving the overextended Grand Armée vulnerable to counters.

3. The “Gentlemen, You Can’t Fight in Here, This Is the War Room” Scenario
With the game tied 1-1 at the half, Vladimir Putin marches into the U.S. locker room and tells the team that the stadium has been rigged with its own Doomsday Device, a series of explosives set to detonate and kill everyone inside if the U.S. wins the game. Unfortunately, Herculez Gomez was in the bathroom during this discussion, and it’s he who gets the winner minutes from time, ensuring the team’s destruction.

4. The “Kitchen Debate” Scenario
Klinsmann and Fabio Capello spend the entire game arguing on the sidelines about the merits of their particular systems, oddly enough in a model American kitchen that’s been set up on the sideline. Capello wins the argument when he catches Jurgen trying to phone Jogi Low during halftime. Capello then bangs his shoe on the podium, and no one is really sure why.

5. The “How About a Nice Game of Chess?” Scenario
Realizing the futility and pointlessness of playing a mid-November friendly, even against a historic geopolitical rival, Jurgen Klinsmann decides that the only winning move is not to play and refuses to allow his team to take the field.

6. The “Space Race” Scenario
Capello has been waiting for this moment, a meaningless friendly in the middle of November, to unveil his newest and most brilliant tactical scheme. It blows the Americans away, propelling the Russians to a 4-0 win that wasn’t even that close. America, terrified that every one of their opponents will soon begin playing the same way, pumps billions of dollars into U.S. Soccer’s budget so the USMNT can catch up with the rest of the world.

7. The “Red Dawn” Scenario
The U.S. team has just begun its first training session when a plane passes low overhead, dropping twelve men on parachutes. The Russian XI and Capello land and immediately start playing the Americans, who without proper warm-ups being dropping like flies. In the end, Nick Rimando and a ragtag team of Gatt's and Gyau's hold off the Soviet…err…Russian advances, snatching a late winner on a rifled shot from Juan Agudelo.

8. The “What a Country!” Scenario
Russian defensive midfielder Igor Denisov rakes his studs across the back of Jermaine Jones’ calf, picking up a foolish yellow card minutes into the second half. As he jogs by, he tells a struggling-to-get-up Jones that “In Soviet Russia, opponent recklessly fouls you!”

9. The “Proxy War” Scenario
Instead of taking the field themselves, the U.S. and Russia send out teams from South Korea and Vietnam, respectively, to play the game in their stead.

10. The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Scenario
While the bus to the stadium is delayed in traffic, double agent Timmy Chandler sneaks into the seat behind Tim Howard and attempts to garrote him. After a knock-down, drag out brawl, Howard and Carlos Bocanegra successfully throw Chandler through one of the bus windows and onto a passing Zaporozhet. Klinsmann, seeing no hope of getting the bus to the stadium on time, commandeers a tank and drives it through the streets, clearing a path for the bus.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: Jurgen Klinsmann, The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Expect You To Die Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

This week's Tuesday XI recognizes that there are far more important things to discuss than today's U.S. presidential election: This Friday's impending stateside release of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie. Bond films are big deals here at our site, mostly because we're always looking for an excuse to wear our tuxedos to the movie theater. In honor of the movie, we've put together a squad made up of some of Bond's most memorable villains.

GK - Auric Goldfinger - Goldfinger knows the value of a clean sheet: his master plan, the irradiation of Fort Knox's gold supply with a nuclear bomb, is all about denying others their wealth to increase the value of his own.

Libero - Ernst Stavro Blofield - Prefers to scheme in the back of the action, but is nonetheless capable of launching overwhelming attacks when the occasion calls for it.

LB - Red Grant - This SPECTRE agent with a poor grasp of wine pairings has plenty of experience battling in tight quarters along the sidelines.

CB - Jaws - Despite his size, smaller opponents are still occasionally able to get the better of him in aerial battles:

CB - Oddjob - Communication can be a bit of an issue in the back since neither of our center backs ever speak, but they make up for it with their imposing statures and fearsome physicality.

RB - Max Zorin - Has molded himself into a fearsome competitor by virtue of his Nazi steroids and inexorable Christopher Walken-ness.

LCM - Xenia Onatopp - Always strong in the tackle, more than one opposing playmaker has met at an end at her powerful legs.

CM - Dr. No - His teammates never could understand his habit of wearing his shirt with collar popped and starched.

RCM - Le Chiffre - A cool and calculating player who's nonetheless capable of some real Vinnie Jones-level brutality when it comes down to it.

CF - Francisco (There's a trivia answer for you) Scaramanga - The Man with the Golden Boot never misses, needing just one chance to put his opponents down for good.

CF - Emilio Largo - Depth perception can be a bit of a problem for him, but he's used to being the Number Two option on a team such as this.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: Playoffs? We’re Talking About Playoffs? Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Today's Tuesday Ten offers you ten quick-hitting predictions for the MLS Cup playoffs.

Eastern Conference

1. Sporting KC - Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong will celebrate the MLS Cup-winning goal by recreating the entire six-minute Evolution of Dance, then immediately announce their retirement.

2. DC United - In the second leg in New York, Dwayne de Rosario will limp onto the field, score with his first two touches, and inspire his team to victory, Willis Reed-style.

In here, Kenny goes just where I tell him to.

3. New York Red Bulls - The D.C. leg of the Red Bulls-United tie will be called off when La Barra Brava supporters bombard Thierry Henry with Playstation controllers as he prepares to take a corner kick. Henry, undeterred, tries to plug one into Kenny Cooper to see if it will work.

4. Chicago Fire - Sherjill McDonald will score three straight goals for the Fire, then have his next shot burn Tally Hall’s hands off before setting the net ablaze.

5. Houston Dynamo -  Houston may score from a set piece.

Western Conference

6. San Jose Earthquakes - San Jose won’t bother traveling to L.A. or Vancouver for the first leg of their semifinal, figuring they were just going to leave it til late anyway.

7. Real Salt Lake - Desperate for a full-strength back line in the face of Seattle’s potent strikeforce, Jason Kreis will have the RSL medical staff scrap the injured Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler and reuse the parts to build a single healthy central defender to pair with Nat Borchers.

You are getting sleepy...you are not about to take the field in the playoffs where you always underachieve..

8. Seattle Sounders - Sigi Schmid will hire a hypnotist to covince Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero that they’re playing in the Open Cup semi-final, not the playoffs.

9. L.A. Galaxy - The remaining parts from the Olave-Schuler infusion will be traded for allocation money to L.A., where they’re reassembled into broken-footed, hamstring-tweaked defender who can play alongside Omar Gonzalez while A.J. De La Garza recovers.

10. Vancouver Whitecaps - Much to the disappointment of Jay DeMerit’s mullet, Vancouver probably won’t win the Cup.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: Settling This Like Men Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Being Americans, we've been hearing a lot recently, albeit tangentially, about some kinds of debates or something that have been going on around these parts. Here at The Other 87, we're not much for talking out our differences. It sounds kind of boring to be honest, and that's why we settle editorial disagreements via a complex system that combines tic-tac-toe and the Joust event from American Gladiators.

With that in mind (somewhere towards the back, tucked between the bits that are trying to work out the seeding possibilities in the Eastern Conference and those that are wondering what's for dinner tonight) we present to you ten hot topics in the world of soccer, along with the methods by which we'd like to see them settled.

1. Who's the better player, Neymar or Messi?

Pele and Maradona will debate this over the course of 15 rounds of three minutes each. Bare-knuckle.

2. Who should have hosted the 2022 World Cup, Qatar or the USA?

We'll settle this with a two-on-two match between celebrity sponsors of the bids: Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Spike Lee. Ohh well.

Sorry. You can choose only one.

3. Who will win the World Cup in 2014, Spain or the field?

Spain selects Xavi as its spiritual and philosophical champion. Unfortunately, the contest is arm-wrestling, and the field's contender is Brazil's Hulk.

4. Who is hotter is more famous, Alex Morgan or Hope Solo?

Whoever can devise a shorter chain linking them to Kevin Bacon wins.

5. Who is hotter was the bigger catch for their adopted league, David Beckham or Alessandro Del Piero?

Only one option here: A walk-off, judged by David Bowie.

6. The short-passing, possession style vs. a direct, long-ball game?

Johan Cruyff and the ghost of Charles Reep will have a staring contest. This one could take a while.

7. Who's the best US midfielder? Michael Bradley vs. the Field

They'll play king of the hill on the tallest, rustiest jungle gym we can find.

Error. Error.

8. Who's had a better career? Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard?

We were going to let the men themselves decide this with a good, old-fashioned game of FIFA, but we only brought one controller, so they couldn't play together.

9. Financial fair play laws vs. the status quo

We'll decide this by entering Karl Marx and Rich Uncle Pennybags into the World Beard and Mustache Championships.

10. Who's the better talking head: Eric Wynalda or Alexi Lalas?

Alright, maybe we will let them talk this one out. But in a small padded room, far from any cameras or microphones, until they come to an agreement for themselves.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Princess Bride Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

If you've been on the Internet at any point in the last month, you probably already know that this year marks the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride. To mark the occasion, we're joining all the other websites out there that are bowing to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence with our own, Princess Bride-themed XI.

GK – Count Rugen – Deformed hands and a penchant for torture? Sounds like a goalkeeper to me.

SW – Humperdinck – This master tracker will follow the opposition the length and breadth of the field, but prefers to attack the ball with numbers rather than solo.

LCB – Valerie – A late sub for the Grandson, who was scratched due to illness. Her scrappiness and persistence give headaches to even the best attackers.

RCB – R.O.U.S. – He may be a dirty, ugly player, but he's got a mean tackle in him.

CDM – Vizzini –  The diminutive Sicilian has a unique understanding of space ("Never get involved in a land war in Asia") and an unshakable self-confidence that partially makes up for his somewhat ponderous thought process. The idea that he could make a bad decision on the pitch is inconceivable.

LCM – Impressive Clergyman – Weawwy excels in his cawwiwewo wole, whewe he wuns back and fowth to dewivew the baww to ouw fowwawds.

RCM – Buttercup – Gallops up and down the pitch, but occasionally runs into trouble when she goes too far afield and ends up surrounded by the opposition.

CAM – Miracle Max – Delivers unbelievable passes to his forwards, but rarely joins the attack himself, preferring to let others have the fun of storming the castle.

LW – Inigo Montoya – The first third of the most devastating trio of filmic attackers this side of Han, Luke and Chewie. His crossing from the left side isn't a strength, but it's only because he knows something the defenders don't, namely, that he is not left-footed.

CF – Fezzik – It's not his fault being the biggest and the strongest; he doesn't even exercise. Not as good in one-on-one situations, but he can occupy as many as half a dozen defenders while holding the ball up.

RW – Westley – Fast, strong, smart and skilled, can play on either side or through the middle, and keeps going through any injury, even being mostly dead? With a player like this, there's only one thing to say: As you wish.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday 10:  Monumental Decision Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

In honor of Zinedine Zidane’s new monument outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris, we bring you ten more somewhat less-than-glorious images from the beautiful game that need to be cast in bronze.

1. I'd love for future civilizations to dig this bad boy up:

2. And while we're on the subject of great German goalkeepers, maybe they can put this next to it, if only as something for visiting Americans to deface:

3. He is all that is man:

4. And so is he. It's a little blurry, but you get the idea:

5. Liverpool really should look into this one:

6. Surely there's already one of this somewhere:

7. The image of Nigerian Rashidi Yekini here isn't ridiculous at all, but the idea of trying to sculpt a net amuses me the part of me that took an art class in high school to no end.

8. Not all great soccer moments happen on the field:

9. Going back to the Zidane statue, if it's violence they're after:

10. But if they're really trying to compose a monument to defeat, may I make a suggestion:

FBM Editor's Pick: Might We suggest this one outside Crew Stadium? They've already got McBride in legos.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Has-Beens Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

We forgot to run this squad of 80's action heroes last month when the Expendables sequel hit theaters. Luckily, if the movie proves one thing, it’s that it’s never too late to get these has-beens out on the field of play. Here we've lined them up in a suitably old-fashioned W-M formation, just as God and Herbert Chapman intended.

And before you can ask, we didn't forget Indiana Jones. It was just too much awesome for one team at one time.

GK – James Dalton – There’s no one better to protect the net than Patrick Swayze’s Ph.D.-packing bouncer from Road House. Like all goalie’s, he’s equal parts Zen and completely insane.

LCB – Ivan Drago – Sure he’s a towering presence and impossibly strong, but did you know he could do this?

CB – Apollo Creed – The Count of Monte Fisto uses his excellent communication abilities to marshal the two bruisers on either side of him and his superior foot speed to clean up their mistakes.

RCB – Clubber Lang – We’ve got one prediction for opposing forwards facing off against Clubber: Pain.

LDM – John McClane – There’s no one better at single-handedly disrupting the best-laid plans of German terrorist robbers, rogue Marines, or opposing playmakers.

RDM – Frank Dux – Sure he uses the same move over and over both to score goals and make clearances, by who's complaining when it works so well?

LAM – John Rambo – Makes sure this squad’s never outgunned going forward.

RAM – James Tiberius Kirk – Sure he’s a little old, even for this group, but someone has to captain this merry band of lone wolves and I work alone-rs together, and Kirk did good work in the 80s, at least every other game.

LW – Snake Plissken – Depth perception can be a bit of a problem for him, but he specializes in the kinds of stoppage-time scores that make fans’ hearts explode.

CF – Major Alan “Dutch” Schafer – A classic, hulking target forward, Dutch is a natural leader who works to get others involved and has a Predator’s instinct for poaching goals.

RW – “Mad” Max Rockatansky – Outpaces and outmuscles defenders when he does have the ball, but is also a master of the dummy run to draw attention away from the real threat.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday Ten: Jurgen’s Bright Ideas Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

We here at The Other 87 like to fancy ourselves a collection of tactical whiz kids, and so when we say that this week's Tuesday Ten is a collection of ten possible scenarios Jurgen Klinsmann is considering as he looks to turn the tide back against the Reggae Boyz tonight, you can be sure that you'll see at least of couple of these bright ideas on the pitch.

1. While seeking to combat the problem of poor ball movement among his midfield diamond, JK realizes that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and so removes Herculez Gomez in favor of Jose Torres, who will play in the center of the midfield diamond, allowing the ball to move through rather than just along the sides.

2. After realizing that Barcelona are pretty good and it seems to work for them, JK inserts yet another center midfielder onto the pitch by removing Clarence Goodson and replacing him with Danny Williams in order to move Mo Edu into the backline next to the CM-certified Geoff Cameron.

Williams, left, with Dempsey

3. To help Clint Dempsey get the ball in dangerous positions, JK removes Gomez and plays Danny Williams and his youthful legs as the designated Deuce transport, responsible for carrying Dempsey and his bass-fishing fitness levels around the field and putting him down just in time for the ball to arrive.

4. Amputates Kyle Beckerman's foot at the ankle to prevent future unfortunate deflections, correctly surmising that it can't really hurt his mobility too much.

5. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before this strategy comes to fruition, JK works with Jozy to adjust the levels of the camouflage he was wearing Friday to better match the field in Columbus.

6. JK determines that the critical missing ingredient Friday was the natural goal-scoring instincts of Michael Orozco Fiscal.

7. JK again decides that the tendency of Fabian Johnson to both attack and defend in the same game is a luxury the team can’t afford, and shackles him once more to Tim Howard’s left goalpost.

Klinsmann's next motivational speaker?

8. JK takes his motivational tactics/mind games to a new level by suggesting that if Landon Donovan really loved his team and his country, he would have had his hamstring amputated, Ronnie Lott-style, in order to be ready to play against Jamaica.

9. Frustrated at his midfield’s inability to solve the Kobayashi Maru of retaining possession when every possible easy outlet is just as likely to give the ball away as you are, JK pulls them all and starts Graham Zusi by himself as the only central midfield.

10. JK says screw it and lets the team start trying on set pieces again.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: Jurgen Klinsmann, satire, The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI, USMNT

The Tuesday XI: Lost Boys Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Today we celebrate the return of the school year by thinking of the children. Not just any children, but badass ones – the kids we all wanted to be when we grew up. Some of them might have aged and become either a best-selling author/religious cult leader or a 41-year-old pinch runner or Batman (briefly) or Robin Williams, but each of them did their best work in their childhood or early teenage years.

(We wanted to include Calvin on the team, but we couldn’t interest him in the idea of organized sports.)

GK – Sloth – Our net-minder is the biggest kid of all from one of the biggest kid movies of all. Physically imposing and impossibly strong, he rallies his defense with his trademark cry:

LB – Tom Sawyer – By the time he’s done with them, opposing forwards will be convinced it’s in their best interests to score into their own goal.

LCB –  Encyclopedia Brown – In the heat of the moment, no one can tell just how he manages to save the day (and a sure goal) by exploiting an opponent’s mistake, but when he explains it in the locker room afterwards it always seems glaringly obvious.

RCB – Bart Simpson – Opposing personalities balance one another out in our back line. Bart was once banned for six games for blindsiding an opponent who was free on goal with a skateboard.

I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down.
I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down. I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down. I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down.

RB – Huckleberry Finn – Idle, lawless, vulgar and bad, he nonetheless always seems to stumble into the right play.

LCDM – Ender Wiggin – No matter how inventive your playmaker’s moment of brilliance may be, he’s already anticipated and defeated it. The enemy’s gate is down.

RCDM – Dick Grayson – Sure he’s moved on from his Robin days, and been replaced by somewhere between four and eleven different people, but he’s got loads of experience working next to someone who knows everything the enemy is going to do.

LW – Edgar Frog – More tools and harebrained schemes than anyone else on the field. Particularly loves going up against teams that aim to suck the life out of a game.

CAM – Benny the Jet Rodriguez – Strong and fast. He can score seemingly at will, hits passes hundreds of feet that drop in beautifully right where he was aiming, and always comes through in the clutch. Benny's so great I just spent ten minutes browsing for PF Flyers to buy.

No all-time team of "What if this or that American athlete had played soccer?" is complete without Benny Franklin Rodriguez.

RW – Short Round – More moves and harebrained schemes than anyone else on the field. Particularly loves going up against teams that aim to rip the life out of a game.

CF – Peter Pan – Dominant in the air when he’s not chasing shadows in his efforts to get through the opposing defense.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday 10: Spectacular Silly Season Predictions Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

It's the most wonderful time of year: transfer season! Here at The Other 87, we don't peddle in rumors or speculation. If we say it's going to happen in the two and a half weeks before the window closes, then you know it will come to pass, and if it doesn't then it's the real world that's to blame. Like another famous publication I can think of, The Other 87 is definitive, it's reality that's frequently inaccurate. Here are ten definitive pronouncements as to how the transfer market will play out.

There's a center back I really want but he's under the Powerpuff Girl.

 

1. After wasting $1.50 in quarters, Eintracht Frankfurt finally get a solid grip on Carlos Bocanegra with the coin-op claw machine and get him all the way to the prize chute.

2. After offloading Jack Rodwell for a cool 15 million to Manchester City, Everton sells Leighton Baines to United for 75 pounds of food, 15 boxes of bullets, and a spare wagon tongue, thus ensuring their continued financial survival for at least another month, as long as the hunting is good.

3. Chelsea calls dibs on Zlatan Ibrahimovic in two years, narrowly beating City to the mark.

4. Sotiris Ninis leaves Parma for whichever team I happen to be running in Football Manager at that time, where he finally lives up to expectations.

5.  Real Madrid puts up posters offering Nuri Sahin and Kaka to anyone who captures and brings them known fugitive Luka Modric alive, no questions asked. The reward is collected by a black-hatted, grizzled campaigner who asks to be known only as “Big Sam.”

6. Robin van Persie is sold to United, where in his first game he accidentally tries to occupy the same space as Wayne Rooney, leading to a violent collision and knocking them both out for the season.

Clint boldly makes a break from Craven Cottage.

 

7. Despite a major setback earlier in the summer when his first attempt was discovered on the Fourth of July, Clint Dempsey manages to tunnel his way out of Fulham. He escapes into the surrounding forests, but Moussa Dembele’s steamer trunk trips up the Belgian and brings the guards down before anyone else can escape.

8. Paris Saint Germain call up David Bowie to ask for the number of the man who sold the world, and whether he’s got another he’d be willing to part with.

9. The Houston Dynamo nearly capture Peter Crouch in their exchange for Geoff Cameron, but unfortunately L.A. already had discovery rights on his wife and a deal couldn’t be worked out.

10. Lionel Messi holds a press conference to announce that he’s actually quite happy at Barcelona and won’t be looking to move anytime soon, thanks for asking.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Olympic Superstars Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

In honor of that other worldwide sporting event, (The Winter Olympics don't count. Just don't get me started on it.) here's a squad made up of athletes who have left their mark on the 2012 Olympics.

(We've left off actual soccer players; in fact, we only took one person from any sort of ball sport.)

GK – Missy Franklin – One word: Wingspan.

SW - Usain Bolt – I’m pretty sure Bolt fancies himself a forward when he trains with Manchester United, but this isn’t a team of “What if these guys had grown up playing soccer?” If they’re going to compete against our imaginary opposition, it’ll help to have the ultimate safety net to clean up our defensive mistakes: tall and literally faster than everyone ever. As you can see below, Bolt’s got some skills, so if he proves he can pass decently, we’ll let him step forward into midifield too.

LB – Jason Kenny – The British cyclist flies up and down the left flank, and when we’re clinging to a late lead at least he brought some kind of vehicle to park in front of goal.

CB – Dong Dong – Not just here for his name (I swear), the Chinese trampolinist stands only 5’6”, but still manages to win nearly every aerial battle he’s put into.

RB – Elisa di Francisca – The Italian fencer and her two gold medals parry opposing thrusts down our right flank then riposte with uncanny accuracy.

Come on, ref! That was a dive!

LM – German Sanchez – Won a silver for Mexico along with his partner in the 10 meter synchronized platform, but he’s unfortunately developing something of a reputation on the soccer field.

LCM – Kayla Harrison – Harrison won the USA’s first-ever gold medal in judo last week, and will put her martial art to use pushing opponents around in the midfield.

RCM – Jessica Ennis – Strong, fast and famous, she narrowly beats out 10,000 meter champion Mo Farah for our box-to-box role. After seven events in two days, I don’t reckon a 90 minute game will be too tough for her.

She's stretching to get a touch on the ball, no doubt.

RM – Gabby Douglas – Her explosive acceleration and endless arsenal of moves will help the gymnastics champion terrorize opposing left backs.

CF – Im Dong-hyun – The legally blind South Korean archer couldn’t lead his team to gold, but still set a world record in qualifying by relying not on sight but a finely tuned muscle memory. Imagine what he could do shooting at a target that’s a little bit bigger.

CF – Phil Dalhausser – Dalhausser may have already been eliminated from medal contention after his beach volleyball partner picked up a knock, but his 6’9” frame and emphatic finishing ability will still be of use to this squad.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday 10: World Cup 2014 Opening Ceremony Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

If you were anywhere near a TV Friday afternoon/evening, then you likely already know that the World Cup is in danger of falling behind in the all-important opening ceremonies arms race. The Busby Berkeley song and dance numbers are nice, but now they’re competing with pyrotechnics, stunt and wirework and the complete history of Western Civilization (minus all the bad parts). It’s time for the World Cup to up its game. Here are ten suggestions for how to do that in 2014 and beyond.

1. Borrow from the Olympics and start the 2014 tournament by telling the history of association football. Build a replica of London’s Freemason’s Tavern, where the Laws were codified, then have half of the participants leave in a huff to walk the Earth in exile until they arrive in England in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

2. As the host nation, the arrival of the game in Brazil will get its own special segment. As soon as Charles Miller steps off the steamship, the whole stadium will explode into a recreation of Carnival.

3. After the dancers are gone, one-up them by bringing on 800 freestyle jugglers to perform at the same time. These should be relatively easy to find in any given block of Rio de Janeiro.

4. Have a group of flying Pep Guardiolas defeat a giant inflatable Sepp Blatter.

5. Like all FIFA sponsored events, there will be a nod to the youth: a giant soccer ball will be rolled onto the center of the pitch, and after a pause, the soccer ball will begin to move, and it will be revealed that it is actually 500 child gymnasts who had linked together to create the ball.

6. Play up the fact that your tournament is the world’s greatest sporting event with tasteful montages from World Cups past. Highlight the game’s wonderful moments, the skill (Zidane’s headbutt in 2006), the beauty (highlights from the 1990 final), and the poetic (juxtaposing moments such as when the West Germans had their goal denied in the 1966 final with Lampard’s non-goal in 2010.)

7. A group of French actors will recreate, step-by-step, the final of the 1970 Final. When Carlos Alberto scores that famous goal, the entire 1970 Brazilian team will emerge to celebrate the goal.

 

8. An Oscars-style remembrance montage, featuring every famous Brazilian player who has passed on. Fat Ronaldo will be mistakenly put onto the montage.

It's not a World Cup if there's no U2.

9. Performance by U2.

10. Pele obviously gets to light the World Cup torch for the tournament in Brazil. In 2018, he and Diego Maradona will (finally) fight to the death to see who gets to do it. I’m thinking Kalashnikov’s at ten paces, in tribute to the host nation.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI, World Cup

TheTuesday XI: All-Star Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

In honor of tomorrow's MLS All-Star Game, we bring you perhaps our most star-laden team yet:

GK – Ringo Starr – Sets the rhythm in the back, allowing our creative geniuses to take the credit further forward.

LB – Starman – This alien life form may look like Jeff Bridges, but he can work miracles on the pitch.

SW– Starman – This otherworldly creature blows the minds of friends and foes alike with his defensive abilities, just like David Bowie said.

RB – Starman – The DC hero’s ability to control gravity helps him rise above attackers to make clearances, or bring hard shots suddenly crashing down to earth.

Regista – Bart Starr – This on-field quarterback delivers pinpoint long-range passes right to the feet of our forwards.

LCM – Patrick Star – SpongeBob’s starfish pal makes up for his lack of soccer intelligence – he doesn’t have a brain, after all – with his energy and enthusiasm.

RCM – Mary Katherine Gallagher – After a couple of false starts in the worlds of music and dance, the former Catholic schoolgirl finally found a venue in which she could be a…wait for it…Superstar!

CAM – Clarice Starling – Uses her wits and bravery to pursue chances that might grant her and her team a lead.

LW – Ziggy Stardust – Plays it left-hand, and while he may occasionally take it too far, this special man is still the nazz.

CF – Lone Starr – His career may have faltered when the referees wouldn’t allow him to play with his power ring, but he got back on track once he realized that his Schwartz was inside of him all along. 

RW – Star Fox – Does a barrel roll.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Mr. and Mrs. Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Summertime means wedding season, and so to commemorate we've brought you a pair of teams representing the Misters and Missuses (and Misses. And Ms.es) your spending all your vacation days to go celebrate with:

GK – Mr. Clean – Keeps the scoreboard spic and span with his tidy performances.

LB – Mr. Bean – Our bumbling left back tends to save goals without knowing much about them.

LCB – Mr. T – Pity the forwards who have to face the pain inflicted by the baddest man in the world.

RCB – Mr. Rogers – May appear to be a more gentle, cerebral type of player than his counterpart, but if you cross him, he’ll cut you down so fast you’ll think you’re in Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood.

RB – Mr. Roboto – Crosses with uncanny, nearly mechanical accuracy. Our forward players make sure to thank him profusely each time he provides them with an assist.

CDM – Mr. Hyde – Normal rules of the game and human decency don’t apply to this brutal hardman in the center of the pitch.

LCM – Mr. Sandman – His rhythmic passing lulls opponents into a false sense of security, allowing him to catch them napping with his sudden forays into the attack.

RCM – Mr. Spock – Carefully and logically choose the correct passing option, and cuts down streaking attackers with the slightest pinch of his hand.

LW – Mr. Wizard – He’s got his position down to a science, constantly inventing chances for himself and others.

RW – Mr. Mxyzptlk – With his god-like powers, Superman’s fifth-dimensional foe could score each time down the pitch, but he much prefers using them to make his opponents look ridiculous.

CF – Mr. Incredible – He may be playing himself back into shape through the course of the season, but his physical power up top complements the brains sitting behind him and on either flank.

And now the ladies:

GK – Mrs. Claus – Holds down the fort at home while the others are off trying to deliver the ball into the back of the net.

LB – Mrs. O’Leary – We signed her to the team before we realized it was her cow that had the barn-burner of a leg.

CB – Miss Piggy – Brings steel and kung fu moves to the center of the defense.

CB – Little Miss Muffet – Grew up to be big and strong thanks to all that curds and whey, and performs admirably on the field as long as she doesn’t run into any spiders.

RB – Ms. Marvel – Reduced to a supporting role on this team too just as in the Marvel Universe, despite the fact that she’s basically Superman-lite.

LCDM – Ms. Jackson – As a midfield enforcer, she is for real, and only rarely has to resort to doing things like having the boys come from her neighborhood to the studio trying to fight the other team.

CDM – Mrs. Doubtfire – “She” provides a physical, if somewhat manic, presence in midfield.

RCDM – Miss America – Comes out of the tunnel like this, every single time:

Trequartista – Mrs. Robinson – Strolls around the grounds feeling completely at home, tempting opposing players with and drawing them to her before helping her teammates help themselves with sumptuous set-up passes.

LCF – Little Miss Sunshine – She may be a little young, and we know she didn’t actually win the contest, but she’s got the moves to put defenders on their asses, or at least laughing them off.

RCF – Miss Manners – Always in the right place at the right time, with the right touches for the right situations to get the ball on goal.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday 10: London Olympics Soccer Preview Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Majors

On the eve (not literally) of the Olympics, we know you are all thrilled. How often does one team have the opportunity to win every major trophy in a row (we're not counting the Confederations Cup, to be sure)? Steffi Graf is the only athlete to complete something of this nature (the Golden Slam of 1988, all four majors plus the Olympics). If they just imported the entire Miami Heat squad and allowed them to represent the US in basketball, well, you see what I mean. So, despite the Olympic soccer competition normally being nothing more than a ballyhooed set of U-23 exhibitions, at least one team has something more significant in mind. For today, we give you, in reverse order, the ten best teams competing at the London Olympics. Keep in mind that when this list was compiled, the final line-ups were not out.

10) Senegal, FIFA Ranking 61*. A new-comer to most major tournaments, Senegal will be participating in the Olympics for the first time. Their U-23 team boasts a relatively small number of prospects, bolstered by the likes of elders Mohamad Diame (West Ham) and Dame N'Doye (Copenhagen). Drawn into a tough group (with Uruguay and Great Britain), any qualification into the knock-out stages would be a surprise. Although, with the massive amount of expectations placed on the shoulders of GB, you never know what bizarre iteration of team dynamic will play out.

Sorry Egypt. No Bob. No care. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

9) ​Egypt, ​F​IFA Ranking 36​ . This is it folks. Bob Bradley's MAJOR TOURNAMENT DEBUT. Wow, I'm just so excited to see what team he runs out with... Wait, you mean Bob has nothing to do with the U-23 squad? It's a different guy? Nevermind.

8) ​Japan, FIFA Ranking ​19. The Japanese U-23s are scattered in clubs throughout Japan and Germany, mainly. The top cap winners have about 20 or so. Generally speaking, I might be inclined to leave them off this list. But the Japanese always seem to come to a tournament prepared and drilled, so I won't count them out.

7) ​Switzerland, FIFA Ranking 16. According to Wikipedia (a notoriously reliable source), none of any of the call-ups for the Swiss U-23 team have any caps. I doubt that somehow. Unfortunately, other than Ben Siegrist, a back-up keeper for Aston Villa, I don't have any knowledge of anyone on their team. That said, I'm ranking them 7th because, let's face it, their gonna get two 0-0 draws and a 1-0 win, qualify, and then be knocked out by a significantly better team.

6) ​South Korea, FIFA Ranking 30. ​ By the Wes Pickard Metric for Ranking Teams I Don't Know Much About, South Korea comes in higher than the previous four on the basis of actually recognizing a few players on their squad, be it Park Chu-Young of Arsenal or Ji-Dong Wan of Sunderland (as well as a strong shout for name of the tournament, Oh Jae Suk). Also, there are a higher average number of caps per player on this team than any of the previous one, leading me to make the somewhat unsupported conjecture that they are a more tournament ready team. South Korea have been a huge ball of potential energy since the 2002 World Cup. Why shouldn't this be the tournament where they break through?

5) ​Mexico, FIFA Ranking 21. ​ Everyone on this team, with one exception (Gio Dos Santos, who is unbelievably still of age to participate in this tournament) plays in Mexico. Invoking the Barcelona-Spain theory of international team sports, this has to give Mexico an edge over a team like Switzerland, where players are sprinkled through Europe like cherry cordials in a box of chocolates. That, an ancient Carlos Salcido giving the team veteran leadership, and being placed in the weakest possible group makes Mexico a relatively mortal lock for qualification through to the knock-out rounds.

4) ​Uruguay, FIFA Ranking ​4. ​ You mean to tell me that two of the world's best strikers (Cavani and Suarez), two pillars of a hugely successful Copa America run, two guys that undoubtedly strike fear into the heart of 98% of all centerbacks will be playing on a U-23 team in a weak(ish) competition for a (somewhat) symbolic soccer trophy? Yikes. Watch out world. The only reason they are this low is...

3) ​Brazil, FIFA Ranking ​6. ​ Brazil's been a mess for a long time now. They've disappointed in every tournament since 2002. That's ten long years of suffering an Austin Powers-style mojo. Why are they favored over Uruguay? They have an absolutely STACKED line-up: Hulk, Neymar, Pato (if he can, you know, keep himself intact), Thiago Silva, Rafael Da Silva, and Marcelo. On top of a lot of other (probably awesome) young talent. The X factor: Brazil have got to get themselves together before 2014. Why not start now? More like, they NEED to start now or ... else?

2) ​Great Britain, FIFA Ranking N/A​ . OK, so, if a thousand people read our blog, about 600 would give me grief over ranking GB so high. Hear me out. 1) One of the stronger lineups in the tournament, between Bellamy, Giggs, Ramsey, Cleverley, and Micah Richards; 2) They are playing on home soil in a weakened tournament. Normally, I'd say absolutely not to a 2) seeding for GB in any tournament. But a weakened tournament on home soil? Gotta go for the Britishers (specially now that Andy Murray has the whole country collectively in tears).

1) ​Spain, FIFA Ranking 1. ​ Yeah, yeah, yeah. The obvious pick. I pretty much explained this in the opener. Wise gamblers have learned not to bet against the Roja in recent years. That said, we'll have to see if the Spanish can get it done once again without the majority of the core (Xavi, Iniesta, Ramos, Casillas, Fabregas, and Busquets) which has won them so many trophies.

*We know that a) FIFA Rankings are a terrible metric, and b) they are for the national team, not the U-23 team, but isn't it somewhat fair that a nation's FIFA ranking might somewhat indirectly hint at the overall footballing ability of that nation? No? Screw it, we're including it anyway.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

The Tuesday XI: Bizarro Euro 2012 Best Eleven

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

The Euros have come and gone, leaving half the world completely unsurprised (“Oh, Spain won.”) and half the world completely surprised (“Oh, Germany didn’t win?”). There were wonderful goals, beautiful fans, tear-jerking anthems, and just a dash of racism to keep us all cynical. But most of all, there were the players – sixteen national sides’ worth, to be exact, wearing pride on their kits (at least until they got ousted on penalties in the quarters).

I wonder if Bizarro Kramer isn't a racist jackwad.

Today we celebrate the players who made this such a memorable month of games. UEFA already beat us to making a team of the tournament, so we’re taking a cue from episode 137 of Seinfeld and giving you our Bizarro XI. If you were cryogenically frozen in the 90s, here’s the gist of the episode:

Jerry: Yeah, like Bizarro Superman—Superman's exact opposite, who lives in the backwards Bizarro world. Up is down; down is up. He says "Hello" when he leaves, "Goodbye" when he arrives.

Elaine: Shouldn't he say "bad bye"? Isn't that the opposite of goodbye?

Jerry: No, it's still goodbye.

Elaine: Does he live underwater?

Jerry: No.

Elaine: Is he black?

Jerry: Look, just forget the whole thing. All right?

And here's our team, broken down by position.

Goalkeepers

The most interesting goalkeeper in the Euroverse.

Iker Casillo – How sad it is to be Andy Murray in the age of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. So it is with Iker Casillo, who has always played second fiddle to Barcelona’s Victor Valdes. A series of brutal mistakes in his club career kept Casillo out of the national side for far too long. After Valdes was ruled out due to a shaving injury, however, the Madrid man finally got the call-up he yearned for – and what a tournament he had. “I’ll never wash these gloves again!” he proudly exclaimed, lifting a trophy for the first time in his life.

Defenders

Jordi Elbo – Elbo played a mean game, defensively, more than making up for his hesitance to get forward. “I hope to carry this form into my club game at Valencia,” said the former Barcelona wingback, “I’m just happy to be making the most important move of my career.”

I'm a genie in a bottle, baby.

Gerard Poque – There’s no shame in doing what it takes to win, especially if you’re Gerard Poque, who accumulated six handballs and four red cards throughout the competition en route to saving Spain’s defensive record. “I’m so proud of you, baby!” said sweetheart Christina Aguilera, as she planted a kiss on his cheek.

Midfielders

Sergio Bursquetz – “Life is like a box of chocolates,” Forrest Gump once said. “You never know what you’re gonna get.” Like Tom Hanks’ Academy Award-winning character, Bursquetz grew up with a debilitating developmental disorder that left him in leg braces throughout his childhood. He often fell over in class, as his classmates teased “Stay on your feet, son!” and threw invisible spitballs at his face. Bursquetz learned from adversity to become the most imposing physical force in modern soccer, breezing through tackles and continuing play no matter what. Bubba would be proud.

Xabi – the Barcelona midfielder used height to his advantage, as usual, in guiding Spain to their third successive trophy. Always an aerial threat, Xabi found himself on the receiving end of many crosses, muscling his way over opponent to win the challenge.

Andrea Pirloo – he may be the typical stocky, bull-headed Italian goon with a bad crew cut, but Pirloo is utterly peerless. Even though he Charlie Adam’ed a crucial penalty against England, he played well enough to earn a spot in our team of the tournament.

Forwards

Ibrabrokovich eats three meals of humble pie a day.

Zlatan Ibrabrokovich – After his Pulitzer-winning biography of Sweden’s greatest ever striker, Gunnar Nordahl, everyone believed Ibrabrokovich had reached the top – until now. Ibra thanked Pep Guardiola, his former mentor, who hung the medal around the Swede’s neck after the tournament. “Without your faith, I never would have had the confidence to succeed. Thank you, professor.”

Mesut Oatzil – If it seems unfair that we’ve included the world’s sexiest soccer player on the list, keep this statistic in mind: Oatzil played every minute of Germany’s Euro run – the only non-goalkeeper in the tournament to make that claim. Endurance is the most overlooked trait in soccer, and the one that makes Oatzil so valuable to Die Mannschaft’s success.

Mario Berlotelli  - the level-headed Italian team captain not only scored three goals, but dedicated each one to a role model in his life. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my family,” said Mario. “And I still have a long way to go. I just hope one day I can be as good as Messi. God bless.”

Cristiano Ranaldi – the greasy, pimple-pocked little teenager never guessed he would be playing at the Euros one day. “I just thought, focus on the game, not the fame – and the results will come.” He may not be suave, sexy, or charismatic, but he’s got a heart of gold.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

 

"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.

 

O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.

“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff

Tags: The Other 87 Minutes, Tuesday 10/XI

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