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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

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