I don't know how many of you out there are fans of The Wire but if you aren't yet, then you best should be. It is among the finest television shows of all time. Set in Baltimore and ostensibly about the drug trade and the people who try to both profit from it and put a stop to it, the show expanded on issues of education, unions, politics, culture, youth, and everything in between. If you haven't watched it yet, stop reading this and go rent it post haste.
Back? Okay. The depth of narrative arc led to some truly memorable characters. So memorable, soccer blog The Other 87 celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Wire's first season by asking, what would make the best fictional Starting XI out of such a cast?
What I find amazing is that the infamous bandit Omar Little does not feature in either XI. The Other 87 argues that he "doesn't fit neatly into either team" and that sorta makes sense if you assume he'd constantly be on the lookout only for himself. But aren't some of the greatest soccer players of all time the same? Wouldn't Omar have been the consummate #10 pulling the strings across the pitch?
I have to believe B&B Enterprises is the kit sponsor for the Bad Guys. Maybe Stringer Bell's copy shop. For the Good Guys? It's got to be Kavanaugh's Irish Pub. How do you think these teams stack up?
via The Other 87:
The Good Guys
GK – Lester Freamon – He could be painting dollhouse furniture and still pull out a brilliant save between the sticks. He also keeps a level head when the rest of the team loses discipline.
LB Ellis Carver – Known to bash a few skulls, but commands his troops well. Carver provides outlet passes to Bunny Colvin ahead of him, but also has the talent to switch wings with his partner, Herc Hauk.
LCB – Cedric Daniels – Tall, imposing, disciplined. What more could ask of a world class defender? Despite his age, Cedric shows tremendous upshot.
RCB – Rhonda Pearlman – Partners well with Daniels in the back. The two take turns cleaning up messes. When all else fails, she uses her charm to appeal to the ref.
RB – Herc Hauk – Along with Carver, Herc ensures nothing gets into the box. While intelligence isn’t always his forte, he muscles any hoodlums stupid enough to challenge his authority.
CDM – Bubbles – Tactically, Bubbles knows the opposition inside and out. With this insight, he shrewdly predicts every play and provides outlet passes to Kima ahead of him.
LCM – Bunny Colvin – Our warhorse. He’ll try anything to break the opposition, even if it means allowing them to play their game.
RCM – Tommy Carcetti – Carcetti has the energy and guile to go on the offensive, especially when he identifies a weakness in his marker.
CAM – Kima Greggs – She would take a bullet for her team, and that’s exactly why we want her providing support for the front line.
LS – Bunk Moreland – Our target man. While Bunk lacks in speed or athleticism, he more than makes up for in persistence and strength.
RS – Jimmy McNulty – Opposite Moreland, McNulty cracks open the defense with risky runs, often to the displeasure of the coaching staff.
The Bad Guys
GK – Stringer Bell –Because of this attacking formation, we need an intelligent goalkeeper capable of reading the opposition and deflecting any attacks.
LB – Wallace – Runs up and down the wing, often unsure of his position. Uses D’Angelo for guidance.
LCB – Clay Davis – Senator Davis is more than willing to take the ball from Stringer and distribute it as he sees fit.
RCB – Proposition Joe – Prop Joe is by far the most cautious member of the squad. While his teammates are eager to attack, he waits patiently and watches for the counter.
RB – D’Angelo Barksdale – Like Wallace, D is often unsure of his position, but is intelligent enough to play capably in both halves of the field.
LCM – Chris Partlow – Always one step ahead of the opposition, Chris is the left side of our midfield triangle.
RCM – Snoop – Our bruiser. In spite of her size and age, Snoop isn’t afraid to put in a hard tackle if she’s asked to do so.
CM – Marlo – Marlo is ruthless in his pursuit of victory, but doesn’t come to life until the second half.
LAM – Slim Charles – Often at odds with Stringer’s instructions from the back, Charles acts as provider in the box.
RAM – Bodie – Distrustful of the midfield lineup, Bodie often creates his own goals, especially when Avon is out of position.
ST – Avon Barksdale – If Stringer is the calming voice for the squad, Avon is the banshee’s scream. However, as the head of the attack, you can’t blame his enthusiasm for forcing the issue.
Hat tip to both soccer blogs The Other 87 and Free Beer Movement for the great tactical breakdown. Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.