. Lutefisk— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) April 6, 2020
Walleye Jucy Lucy Cheese Curds
Pho Wild Rice
Lefse Tater Tot Hotdish Bars Spam
It was a great attempt. My friends up in the Twin Cities know my affinity for Juicy Lucys and cheese curds when I’m up in their neck of the woods. But bars? Pho? Spam? Their idea sparked a similar one in my brain, and it goes well beyond food.
When it comes to Washington, District of Columbia, we have a lot of things that we invented, perfected, are the absolute best (or worst) at doing, or otherwise call our own. We could put out 11 of those things and really take the United States by storm. So, if D.C. United were to put out a starting lineup of the Best of DC, what would that lineup look like? Well, we’d run in that 4-2-3-1 lineup that you’re used to seeing, and it’s quite possibly the best any city or state in these here United States can put on a field.
Goalkeeper: Taxation Without Representation
There he is, the impenetrable wall that is the best goalkeeper in the world, Taxation Without Representation. He’s been around for centuries, keeping its grip on society and never letting go. Because of that, nothing gets past him. He holds a 0.00 goals allowed average since 1800, the best average in world soccer history.
Defenders: Cherry Blossoms, Ethiopian Food, Bureaucracy, Pupusas
Cherry Blossoms have the incredible ability of keeping over a million people contained by itself, allowing the rest of the team to press forward. At the left back spot, it can even push forward, particularly when the team approaches full bloom. During that time, there’s no more exciting player in America.
Ethiopian Food has been a staple here in DC for decades. She’s always undervalued by people outside of DC, but the fans here know her worth has no ceiling. Day or night, she comes through in the clutch and will defend DC at all costs.
Bureaucracy can tie down any offense quickly and firmly. It’s always in your face, and you can’t shake it. At every turn, in every corner, it’s there to frustrate you and, eventually, make you quit. You need defenders who can irritate any opposition, and Bureaucracy is holding every championship belt in that category.
Pupusas have long been a part of the game here in DC. At right back, they have the offensive power to move forward and create some scoring opportunities, but what they’re known best is for marking those wingers who think they’re special. Pupusas know they’re more special, and they prove it week in and week out.
Midfielders: Happy Hour (captain), Traffic, Boozy Brunch, Half Smokes, Go-Go
In the midfield, we start with the quarterbacks of the team. A NFL team would dream of having a Hall of Fame, undefeated quarterback on their roster, and DC can honestly say they have two: Happy Hour and Traffic. Happy Hour is the best box-to-box midfielder in the universe. It can make a day begin or make a day end. Schedules revolve around it, and everyone looks forward to it. No one does it better than DC, and that’s a scientific fact. It’ll smoke through any defense, and hold off any attacker because they truly can’t hang for 90 minutes. Have a match that’s going into extra time or penalties? Happy Hour will power through no matter how long you need her on the field.
Traffic is where an opposing offense goes to die. You think you’re gonna even get a shot off on DC’s incredible defense, think again. Traffic will bring the opposing team’s attack to a screeching halt. It will take the ball from you, give it to Happy Hour, and watch the run of play go down the field. No one’s traffic is mightier as a District of 700,000 becomes 6-7 million on any given weekday. Our Traffic is the one always in your face, telling you the honest truth about your chances like Dominic Toretto did in The Fast & The Furious: “You almost had me? You never had me! You never had your car!” And before you know it, the ball’s out of your possession and it’s going the other way.
Boozy Brunch and Go-Go are DC lifers that no defense can really handle. Go-Go will light up any room with its uptempo personality, and it has the creativity to dance around any defender. Boozy Brunch is an all-out attacker on the left wing, coming in hot, never relenting, and always capable of finishing with a bang.
Half Smokes will dominate as the team’s number 10. They’re authentic, dependable, a fan favorite, creative, and they can score on you from anywhere on the field. They can deliver via free kick or go hard in the paint. Half Smokes will terrorize any defense and go up against their best defender and make them look silly. For decades, they’ve been the heart and soul of DC, and the city will ride for them and they for their city.
Forward: Anything José Andrés
Finally, up top Anything José Andrés is the perfect striker because there’s nothing like a striker who is on fire. And to say José Andrés is on fire wouldn’t do it justice. He’s the only guy in the world that’s averaging 10,000 goals per game and has been doing it consistently for the past 5 years. Somehow, he doesn’t have any Ballon d’Nobels above his fireplace (and he should have several), but those World Hero of the Year trophies need their own room. He will deliver in any setting with either foot, and will do it with a warm smile. He can make any defender feel wonderful about the world when he’s destroying their net with goals. There’s no way that prolific productivity is stopping anytime soon.
Subs: Mumbo Sauce, Nando’s, The Mall
Even DC’s substitutes can be the star of a lineup elsewhere. Mumbo Sauce is underrated and unappreciated by everyone outside of DC, but that’s fine. We’ll keep it for ourselves, and when it comes off the bench to light your team up, you’ll be sorry.
Nando’s may not have come from DC, but it established its American roots here. It’s been here long enough to become a citizen, freeing up that international roster slot for another acquisition down the road. It’s cheeky, it can play any position, and it’s been long coveted by others that don’t have someone like Nando’s.
Finally, The Mall is a dependable winger that comes through when you don’t realize you need it. It does well with open spaces and tons of traffic. While it’s perfect during the day, at night it can shine through and cure any ill that may be happening on the field. Need a goal? The Mall is there. Need a stopper for a ton of attackers? The Mall is there. Born and raised here, it will be here its entire career and that just makes it fight for the District that much more.
There you have it, the Best of DC lineup. No lineup in the country will be able to hang with it, although many will make the attempt. What’s your Best of DC starting XI? Hit the comments and discuss it all!