The Tuesday XI: Olympic Superstars Edition
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
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.
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
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