A Hypothetical Starting XI Composed Entirely of Major Leaguers

As was made mostly clear by way of their 2-1 defeat of Ghana, what the US national team makes up for with pluck and want-to, it probably lacks in terms of overwhelming skill so far as the world’s game is concered. This isn’t entirely surprising, of course: not only is soccer in its infancy, relatively speaking, within the States, but there are also multiple other sports which tend to draw potentially transcendant talent in other directions.

Other internet webloggers have wondered what might happen were America’s best athletes to play only the world-type of football. The present post is the expression of a similar, but not precisely the same, kind of thought experiment. Rather, the question the author has attempted to answer here is as follows: were one to select an ideal starting XI from all active major leaguers, who might one pick?

I’ve resolved to utilize a 4-3-3 formation because (a) it’s the sort which that most aesthetically pleasing of clubs, Barcelona, tends to deploy, and also because of (b) whim.

The prospect of providing an exhaustive explanation for each selection is among the most tedious acts — for myself, for the reader — of which I could presently conceive. Really, the motivation here has mostly been to produce a graphic such as that which appears above. If pressed, however, I’d say that the thought of watching Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon running down the wings is a pleasant one; that, owing to their agility, Andrelton Simmons and Dustin Pedroia are probably most comparable to Barcelona’s long-tenured midfield tandem of Xavi and Andres Iniesta; and that the combination of Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton at center backs represents ca. 15 feet and 500 pounds of defensive man wall.




Print This Post

Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
IMW
Guest
IMW
2 years 3 months ago

Wrong. All you need is Brian McCann and he’ll stop everyone from scoring.

pastlives
Guest
pastlives
2 years 3 months ago

lol nice

mch38
Member
mch38
2 years 3 months ago

McCann on defense, Pat Burrell on offence because all he does is score

Andrew Faris
Guest
Andrew Faris
2 years 3 months ago

I can’t believe you picked Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera after Cabrera just won the Triple Crown. That’s lucidcrous.

John Elway
Member
2 years 3 months ago

The Triple Crown doesn’t carry the weight it once did.

Just neighing.

Elmer's Glue
Guest
Elmer's Glue
2 years 3 months ago

If that’s how you feel, then we need to talk…

BottomPirate
Guest
BottomPirate
2 years 3 months ago

Striker: Bartolo Colon, Bengie Molina
Goalkeeper: Bill Buckner
Designated throw-in guy: Ryan Zimmerman(n)
Center back: Eddie Gaedel
Left wing: Prince Fielder
Right wing: Cecil Fielder
Referee: Ty Cobb

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 3 months ago

If you position Colon, Molina, and Sessile Cecil Fielder close together, everyone else on the field but Prince will gradually go into orbit around the threesome.

Then Prince is free to waltz down to the open net and score at will. Even with an injured neck!

a eskpert
Guest
a eskpert
2 years 3 months ago

Prince Fielder’s pretty damn fast actually. Papi, for instance, is way slower.

saggy
Guest
saggy
2 years 2 months ago

some of those guys aren’t americans.

kdm628496
Member
kdm628496
2 years 3 months ago

puig at center forward is a better balotelli. trout should be a sweeper. i feel like mccutchen would work as a wing back who likes to get forward a la dani alves.

also, mr. cistulli, how do you not have corey kluber in goal, preventing the other team from scoring? for shame.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 3 months ago

I can’t believe that you are fielding a team in a sport in which diving is an, if not the, most important skill, you are not employing the skills of one Derek “Past-a-Diving” Jeter. One hopes that you will correct this oversight post haste.

Melk Was a Bad Choice
Guest
Melk Was a Bad Choice
2 years 3 months ago

No Bronson Arroyo? Have you seen that leg kick?

scatterbrian
Member
Member
scatterbrian
2 years 3 months ago

Defensive Man Wall. They were really good until their guitarist left.

DavidJ
Member
DavidJ
2 years 3 months ago

Either “15 feet” is a typo for “13 feet,” or “Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton” is a typo for “Manute Bol and Shawn Bradley.”

Longar Longar
Guest
Longar Longar
2 years 3 months ago

Barcelona are the most aesthetically pleasing of clubs if you wish to take a nap

Paul Swydan
Member
Member
2 years 3 months ago

#ManWall

reillocity
Guest
reillocity
2 years 3 months ago

Retired obviously, but who in today’s big leagues can rival José Canseco’s header?

CPT
Guest
CPT
2 years 3 months ago

Can anyone explain George Springer at keeper? Is it because he is so dapper?

Does
Guest
Does
2 years 3 months ago

the phrase “crazy diving catches” mean anything to you?

Sr Beisbol
Guest
Sr Beisbol
2 years 3 months ago

Gomez and Simmons aren’t from the USA.

GTwill
Member
GTwill
2 years 3 months ago

Players from MLB, not just the US. Also, probably makes them better selections.

Embiggens Papiamentu
Guest
Embiggens Papiamentu
2 years 3 months ago

I can see why Curacao has not become a soccer empire. Same for the Dominican Republic.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
2 years 3 months ago

Well done…I don’t know why but I was laughing thinking about the logic behind these picks. They make sense though.

J Rich
Member
J Rich
2 years 3 months ago

Springer for the clean sheet! Nothing would get by him in the field. (At the plate, a different story.)

(Also, check out superofficialworldcuppredictor.com and @SOWCP on twitter. It’s my ad agency’s projection/foosball tournament for the World Cup, and so far we are a game behind Nate Silver, and way ahead of Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs. Shows what they know!)

Gilmai
Guest
Gilmai
2 years 3 months ago

As foolish as the Cameroon pick was, the Spain call was brilliant. And no one could see Costa Rica or Iran (just wait and see) coming. The lack of faith in the USA is as predictable as it is unpatriotic. A Uruguay v Colombia final is a very bold prediction though.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
2 years 3 months ago

You should add Todd Helton at Quarterback and Frank Thomas as Tight End. They were pretty good at football, too.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 3 months ago

I’m guessing Trout is center forward just based on the assumption that he’s also the best soccer player in the world.

scruddet
Member
scruddet
2 years 3 months ago

Sounds like a fair assumption to me

ncb
Member
ncb
2 years 3 months ago

National league BIAS!

Steve-O
Guest
Steve-O
2 years 2 months ago

This is blasphemy.

wpDiscuz