After watching the United States defeat Ghana 2-1 in thrilling fashion during World Cup action on Monday, it got me thinking....
What if the Texans fielded a soccer team?
The Texans have selected WR DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson in the 1st-round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
This year's United States National Team has been chronicled throughout their journey to Brazil, with ESPN airing a running documentary of the squad under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. During a recent episode, US goalkeeper Tim Howard, a mainstay of the national team, was asked about soccer's relevance in this country.
While I can't quote Howard exactly, he made the point that soccer in the United States is competing for the 'fourth or fifth athlete'. What he meant is that most of the country's top athletes are playing other sports, with football being among the top in terms of popularity. Internationally, soccer reigns as the world's most popular sport. In the United States, that isn't the case.
Granted, my soccer expertise is rather limited to the few times I've played FIFA on my PlayStation. That said, I thought it would be a fun exercise to put together a Texans soccer team from the current football roster.
Just to keep some level of consistency, I'm going to go with the 4-4-2 lineup the United States used in Monday's match against Ghana. No one called me an expert, but here we go...
Texans - DeAndre Hopkins/Keshawn Martin
USA - Jozy Altidore/Clint Dempsey
Speed, speed and more speed. Hopkins, who ran a 4.41 at his pro day coming out of Clemson, will be the perfect sprinter to lead our Texans attack. Hopkins also has great size (6-1, 207) and is 30 pounds heavier than current US star Altidore. Martin has been timed as low as 4.34 in the 40-yard dash, and with his build he can be the perfect complement to Hopkins. We can only hope he's as good as Dempsey.
Texans - Andre Johnson, D.J. Swearinger, Brian Cushing, Arian Foster
USA - Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya
According to the soccer expert in my house (my wife), a midfielder's job is to control the game and distribute to teammates (she should know, she was one in college). In that role I tabbed the four above, a good mix of size, strength, speed and awareness that can help facilitate the offense. Of the quartet, Johnson, Foster and Swearinger will push forward, looking more for offensive opportunities. Cushing will lean defensive, dropping to help anchor the back line. Sound familiar?
Texans - J.J. Watt, Duane Brown, Jonathan Joseph, C.J. Fiedorowicz
USA - Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley
I'm a sucker for size on the back line, Between Watt and Brown, I'd have a pair of 300 pounders guarding the middle of the field. Both of those guys also have enough speed to go side to side if need be. On the outside, I'm going to lean on Joseph and Fiedorowicz. Joseph already knows how to shut down a corner of the field, and I'd love to see forwards try to muscle Fiedorowicz off the ball. Not happening.
Texans - Jadeveon Clowney
USA - Tim Howard
I know you are supposed to have experience in goal, but I just can't pass up on the raw athletic ability of Clowney in that position. Clowney stands at 6-foot-5, two inches taller than Howard. Clowney has an AMAZING
83-inch wingspan, which essentially means opponents will be trying to score against an octopus. He's also cat quick, another trait Howard showed in spades during Tuesday's game. Should anyone actually get through my all-star defense, I'll take my chance with Clowney keeping the ball out of the net.