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Twenty defenders I’d choose over Jefferson Mena

Athleticism isn’t a replacement for skill. Also, never listen to me.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jefferson Mena is, by all accounts, a perfectly good dude.

He just isn’t good enough at his job to justify a regular spot with New York City FC.

This is obvious to me. Maybe to you as well. But Patrick Vieira isn’t getting the memo: Sunday’s combination waking nightmare / walking disaster at Gillette Stadium at the hands of New England was so lamentable in part because of another hapless performance from the former Independiente Medellin defender.

WhoScored.com rated Mena at a 6.01 for the match, startlingly poor on their standard (he also hit that dubious mark in July’s 3-1 loss to Sporting KC). Yet again, Mena was constantly unable to set his feet, cut out creative individual efforts from the likes of Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo, and Diego Fagundez, and displayed minimal rapport with any of his batterymates along the back line.

It was the second time he laid an egg against New England this year: back in May, he made the starting XI only to get the hook from Patrick Vieira just 28 minutes into the game in favor of the fairly unsung Diego Martinez.

Let’s face it: the fleet-of-foot center back, who will earn a pretty $230,000 this year (about four times what R.J. Allen makes), does not and cannot have a future with this team. Speed just does’t make up for a lack of judgment and field awareness.

That’s why I am here today to propose 20 viable alternatives for the New York City FC back line.

JEFFERSON MENA REPLACEMENTS: 20 TENTATIVE MAYBES
  1. Kellyanne Conway. Anyone willing to defend Lil’ Trumpie has courage to spare.
  2. Carl from The Walking Dead. Yes, I’d even prefer a guy who tends to go missing every five minutes.
  3. Rosita. She’s already expressed interest in suiting up for the Celestes.
  4. Gene Hackman. I shouldn’t have to explain this.
  5. Grimace, the McDonald’s blob creature thing.
  6. The World’s Largest Ball of Twine. New York City’s defense is familiar with the concept of unraveling.
  7. Meryl Streep. We learned long ago that no role is beyond her expertise.
  8. Johnny Cochran. Even in death, few probably know how to mount a better defense.
  9. Rex Ryan. He takes footwork very seriously.
  10. A mustachioed man on one of those classic bicycles where one wheel is way bigger than the other.
  11. Sansa Stark. She’s a foot taller than any living person in Westeros, and NYCFC is notoriously bad up in the air.
  12. Rafa Marquez. Just kidding!
  13. SARS.
  14. Wayne Rooney. He keeps lining up deeper and deeper.
  15. Solange. Unafraid to kick when the situation calls for it.
  16. Michael Rapaport. He talks so much grease that opponents will eventually lose interest and go home.
  17. Stan Van Gundy. Insists on forming "a fucking wall."
  18. A used copy of Finnegan’s Wake.
  19. A projector screen showing Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail.
  20. Dr. Jonathan Zizmor. He’ll clear things right up.