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.
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