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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.

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“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

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