It’s a big day in the Windy City, folks. Both of Portland’s top-tier soccer teams, the Timbers and the Thorns, traveled to Chicago—on the same flight—to take on both of their teams in a two-city MLS-NWSL doubleheader. Hopefully, you’ve all seen this very good photo by now:
This image—boys in green and girls in red sitting together, Thorns scarves draped around Timbers’ necks and vice versa, everybody looking like they’re on their way to Disneyland, except Christine Sinclair, who looks like an air marshal—got us thinking. What if they got to Chicago and had to play one co-ed game against a similarly-composed Fire-Red Stars side? We collaborated with our friends over at Hot Time in Old Town to take this hypothetical one step further.
We give you: Stumptown Footy’s PTFC Mixed XI.
Bench: Andressinha, Bill Tuiloma, Zarek Valentin, Jeff Attinella, Marco Farfan, Hayley Raso, Fanendo Adi
Methodology: As you can see, this is based on a fantasy world in which all rostered players are healthy and available. We took a popular vote and ended up with a lineup that, positionally, more or less makes sense. Our starting lineup skews a little Thorns-heavy (probably because, you know, they’ve been more successful recently), but the 18 is evenly split. We had to move a couple players—notably Lindsey Horan at striker—to positions they don’t typically play, at least currently, in order to make everyone fit. This team, like the actual Timbers and Thorns teams, is thin on forwards, but hopefully the defense can contain Sam Kerr...
Hot Time in Old Town’s Fire-Red Stars Mixed XI
Starting XI: Nemanja Nikolic, Sam Kerr, Aleksandar Katai, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Julie Ertz, Sofia Huerta, Brandon Vincent, Katie Naughton, Johan Kappelhof, Casey Short, Alyssa Naeher
Bench: Richard Sanchez, Matt Polster, Sam Johnson, Dax McCarty, Vanessa DiBernardo, Dani Colaprico, Yuki Nagasato
Notes: We wanted to go for as balanced a team as possible, both in terms of gender— which isn’t exactly possible with 11 players, at least until nonbinary people are allowed to compete in professional sports leagues— and positional strength. We could pick any player on the roster for either team, even if they weren’t available for today. The Fire and the Red Stars are strong in the same three areas: striker, center midfielder, and outside back. From there, it was just trying to pick use the roster from one team to shore up weaknesses in the other. (Like, you know, goalkeeper.)