With the 2018 World Cup on the verge of completion, it is well past due to make a Raider’s soccer lineup. The Silver and Black certainly won’t be the most talented team on the pitch. However, with proper management and some practice, I’m sure this lineup could do some damage on the big stage.
To make things simpler, we will just divide the players up into four categories: attackers, midfielders, defenders, and goaltenders. The starting lineup will consist of 3 attackers, 3 midfielders, 4 defenders, and 1 goaltender (duh).
Amari Cooper: Coop is fast with great route running ability. Undoubtedly, this will directly translate to the soccer field. His fluid hips will prove too much for opposing defenders. Expect Amari to return to form in the Hypothetical NFL World Cup and in the 2019 NFL season.
Martavis Bryant: Bryant is a straight burner. His speed along with his 6 foot 4 inch height will make the perfect weapon for the offense. I don’t know if he can kick but at the least he will stretch the defense and open up holes for everyone else.
Giorgio Tavecchio: Tavecchio provides the big boot the offense needs. He will also serve as our free kick taker. The choice was hard between Tavecchio and the other kicker Eddy Pineiro. Giorgio was given the edge because of the heritage advantage, he was born in Italy.
Derek Carr: Carr is in there to distribute the rock to our play-makers. Hopefully the decision-making skills translate from the football field to the other football field. Also, I felt some pressure from the Front Office to stick him in the starting lineup because of that contract.
Ryan Switzer: Switzer is another good route runner that should translate to soccer ability. However, he lacks the straight blazing speed of Amari Cooper so he will need to excel at controlling the ball as a midfielder.
Jalen Richard: Richard fits in the same mold as Switzer. They both have good change of direction and are on the smaller side. Richard’s stamina should also be a plus, he sprinted his first NFL carry in for a score from 75 yards out.
Gareon Conley: So my logic on defenders is that defensive back skills and defensive soccer skills are similar in some way. So, Conley is scheduled to be our most talented corner so he gets the start for the defense. Conley will stick to opposing attackers like glue.
Rashaan Melvin: Melvin is likely to be the other starting corner so he also gets the nod. Hopefully his previous year with the Colts will become the new norm, not the outlier.
Karl Joseph: Joseph is another starting defensive back thrust into the starting soccer lineup. The added physicality and fight that KJ brings to the team will also be much appreciated.
Nicholas Morrow: Morrow brings some physicality as well which will be much-needed on corner kicks. Morrow isn’t slow-footed either. His practice covering running backs out of the backfield could prove to be of good use on the soccer pitch
Obi Melinfonwu– Obi is a freak athlete. Don’t believe me? Watch his combine tape. Obi can jump out of the gym. He is long and brings good quickness. What more could you want in a goalie? This was an easy choice.
Eddy Pineiro (attacker)- Tavecchio is the starter until unseated. Pineiro brings a boot off the bench if we need more offense in a pinch.
Marshawn Lynch (attacker)- Lynch brings the bull in a china shop attribute. He will excel staying on the ball and grinding out some scrappy goals.
Jared Cook (midfielder)- Cooks brings a good speed and size lineup to the team. He will also prove to be an asset on corner kicks.
Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin (defenders)- The Slash Brothers will be the defense off the pine for the squad. Our best two defenders when playing football, Mack and Irvin can surely bring something to a soccer field.
Kelechi Osemele (goaltender)- This may seem like an odd choice but there is some logic behind it. KO is huge and can move. His ability to quickly recover and pull shows his lateral quickness. Also, I had to show the offensive line some love. So, KO is the man for backup keeper.