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Friday, February 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2013

Well, it was on time last month!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM | 1499 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic

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   401. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4364447)
Was that Jermaine Jones with the horse-#### clearance that led to the goal? Not a huge fan of Jones so it's probably confirmation bias. Stream is too pixelated to tell who is who.
   402. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4364449)
Fred isn't a very imaginative nickname.

If you're too sexy to play down the middle for Brazil, where DO you want to play?

"Right," said Fred.
   403. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4364472)
Well, that explains how they got so wide open in the box.
   404. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams (shayborg) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4364474)
Hope the referee's assistant has a disguise handy for his trip home.
   405. zack Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4364475)
That was either extremely lucky or expertly trapped.

Is Jones usually the guy to take corners?
   406. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams (shayborg) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4364489)
Is Jones usually the guy to take corners?

Bradley's taken a few too. Neither has impressed today at least.
   407. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4364490)
Is Jones usually the guy to take corners?


It's usually Donovan, or if he's in the lineup, Torres.

Kljestan for E. Johnson, then Edu for Williams, then Zusi for Jones. A better lineup that what started.
   408. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams (shayborg) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4364493)
Dempsey looks just about done. This is will be his third full 90 in six days, right?
   409. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams (shayborg) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4364495)
What the hell were the CB's doing?!

EDIT: More specifically, Omar Gonzalez. Cameron was slow, which I can forgive, but Gonzalez just completely missed that play.
   410. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4364499)
Pathetic, I'm thinking we're not going to make the World Cup.
   411. Baldrick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4364503)
Terrible. Just terrible.
   412. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4364504)
I would have taken a 1-1 tie, but I do want to point out that Klinsmann was supposed to make the team better in attack. In 23 games under him, the US has scored 2+ only 6 times. In Bob Bradley's last 23 games, it was 7.
   413. Langer Monk Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4364506)
Terrible. Just terrible.
   414. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4364509)
The Shin Guardian:

Here's the thing. If you make all your subs around a "tired" central MF at the 60th, why do you think bombing FBs up field will be good?
   415. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4364511)
I would have taken a 1-1 tie, but I do want to point out that Klinsmann was supposed to make the team better in attack. In 23 games under him, the US has scored 2+ only 6 times. In Bob Bradley's last 23 games, it was 7.


Bradley had the fortune of coaching Landon Donovan in his prime. JK gets the likes of Zuzi and Bedoya.

I haven't been too impressed with Klinsmann's tactics with the US... but the talent level is just really low.
   416. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4364513)
In partial defense of Klinsmann, he's had to run the offense without Donovan. Bradley had him.

In further defense, critics have been touting Omar Gonzalez for 2 years and complaining about Klinsmann's failure to add him to the team.

Lastly, with all due respect to DA, who was impeached fairly badly today, this US team isn't very good. Our central defense sucks and we a truly creative player like LD.

Edit to add: Score another one for Nate Silver. Going into today, he had the US 38, Honduras 39. With home field advantage, Honduras should win. They did.
   417. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4364514)
Bradley had the fortune of coaching Landon Donovan in his prime. JK gets the likes of Zuzi and Bedoya.


Bedoya has appeared in one game for Klinsmann, as a substitute in a B team friendly.
   418. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4364515)
Lastly, with all due respect to DA, who was impeached fairly badly today


What side dish should I have with my crow?
   419. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4364518)
Lastly, with all due respect to DA, who was impeached fairly badly today, this US team isn't very good. Our central defense sucks and we a truly creative player like LD.


It's pretty pathetic that the US hasn't produced a creative mid-fielder as good as Reyna in the last decade. That said, the over-all talent pool for the US has never been higher, and all the German-Americans are Klinsy's boys, he picked them, he recruited them.

All in all it just seems like things are not progressing under Klinsmann, for whatever reason, coaching, talent, voodoo, what have you.

Edit: playing Fabian Johnson as a defensive oriented mid isn't doing anything for anyone, move him forward he's one of the few US players that shows any sort of attacking acumen. And how does Chandler start in the Bundesliga? He was crap today along with most of the back.
   420. Manny Coon Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:24 PM (#4364522)
Bradley had the fortune of coaching Landon Donovan in his prime. JK gets the likes of Zuzi and Bedoya.


Part of the problem is that guys like Zusi, Bedoya, Torres and Kljestan aren't really attackers, they are more used as two-way CMs for their clubs rather than attacking wing players where Klinsman like to line them up. Bob Bradley would usually use two box-to-box types, two attacking midfielders (usually Donovan and Dempsey or maybe Beasley) and two strikers; with Klinsmann we usually get something like a dedicated DM, 2-3 CMs, maybe a winger, Dempsey and a forward. Guys like Ching, Beasley or Conor Casey maybe weren't the most exciting attacking ever, but they were actual attacking players.
   421. J. Sosa Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4364527)
I hate friendlies.

I'm calling it right now, popped hammy for Gerrard monday.
   422. SuperGrover Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4364528)
Also, we shouldn't blame the lovely bloke Joe Hart for that howler. That was not his shame!


Meant to indicate that I don't believe Hart would flub something that simple, not that he was the one in goal at the time.

My message board communication leaves much to be desired.
   423. SuperGrover Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4364530)
Does anyone think that Japan has a better team then the US?

I do.


As do I. And Nate Silver as well.
   424. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4364533)
Hindsight being 20/20: Maybe don't start a backline that's never played together before. Of course if Bocanegra was in there instead of Gonzalez and we had the same result, we'd be saying "why didn't he play Gonzalez!"
   425. Manny Coon Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:47 PM (#4364543)
Hindsight being 20/20: Maybe don't start a backline that's never played together before. Of course if Bocanegra was in there instead of Gonzalez and we had the same result, we'd be saying "why didn't he play Gonzalez!"


The frustrating part about this is that he waited so long to start trying out new CBs, so many of the early games under Klinsmann he was still constantly running Bocanegra, Goodson and Onyewu when he could have been trying out a lot more new players. The one new CB he did try early on was Orozco, who was a really questionable choice and not at all surprising when he didn't work out.
   426. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4364547)
What side dish should I have with my crow?


You can skip the crow, but you might want to hold off on buying a lottery ticket until tomorrow.

That said, the over-all talent pool for the US has never been higher


I really can't agree with this. Part of it is that the game has changed. We need to think of the talent pool in the context of the game today. Talent is no longer DaMarcus Beasley breaking with pace on the wing. It's control of the game with technique. The US is FAR behind on that, thanks to the multiple problems with talent development as I mentioned on the previous page.

Even if Klinsmann wanted to succeed by putting speed on the flanks and up front, and rely on counter-attacks at pace, he couldn't do it. The US doesn't have that option with anyone in the pool today (Gatt's possible in the future, but not now). I think he's actually done a good job of reaching outside the box to increase the type of talent we need, it's just not there.

Also, I'm not sure how much people appreciate that LD is by far the best player the US has ever produced. Losing him is huge.
   427. Langer Monk Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4364549)
Have to agree with Mefisto on that entirely.
   428. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4364551)
You can skip the crow, but you might want to hold off on buying a lottery ticket until tomorrow.


No, I ran my mouth for two pages and none of it was correct. Crow is on the menu.
   429. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4364552)
Good points Mefisto I concede I follow the sport casually and what you said makes perfect sense. The US has improved, but others have improved faster.
   430. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:04 PM (#4364553)
Does anyone think that Japan has a better team then the US?

I do.

As do I. And Nate Silver as well.

This is a much more interesting question if we're talking about the women instead of the men.
Part of it is that the game has changed. We need to think of the talent pool in the context of the game today. Talent is no longer DaMarcus Beasley breaking with pace on the wing. It's control of the game with technique. The US is FAR behind on that, thanks to the multiple problems with talent development as I mentioned on the previous page.

This is a really, really good point that I think ought be reiterated a couple of times.
   431. SuperGrover Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4364561)
Part of it is that the game has changed. We need to think of the talent pool in the context of the game today. Talent is no longer DaMarcus Beasley breaking with pace on the wing. It's control of the game with technique. The US is FAR behind on that, thanks to the multiple problems with talent development as I mentioned on the previous page.

This is a really, really good point that I think ought be reiterated a couple of times.


I have a fairly rudimentary hypothesis that one of the reason American goalkeeping development seems to be years ahead of it's field positions is that goalkeeping skill can be honed somewhat independent of the skill around it. Conversely, I suspect that controlling a game through technique and understanding of movement is wholly dependent on the skill of the squad in its entirety. Messi wouldn't be Messi if he'd spent his youth period training with a bunch of New Zealanders.

As I have no exposure to high-level training I have no idea if this holds any water at all but something that seems to jibe with what I am inferring from Mefisto's post.
   432. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4364564)
As I have no exposure to high-level training I have no idea if this holds any water at all but something that seems to jibe with what I am inferring from Mefisto's post.


I think there is something to this. Derrick Rose wouldn't be Derrick Rose without the streets of Chicago. Same with many, many, many NBA players. The game on the street teaches you flair, composure, hones your muscles and the brain/muscle connection into instinctual play. Yes pickup ball of any sort has its limitations once you reach the professional level -- but it's the classic "you can't teach that" skill that seemingly eludes so many US players.

   433. Langer Monk Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4364568)
Isn't Freddy Adu the poster boy for this discussion?
   434. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4364577)
Conversely, I suspect that controlling a game through technique and understanding of movement is wholly dependent on the skill of the squad in its entirety. Messi wouldn't be Messi if he'd spent his youth period training with a bunch of New Zealanders.


Absolutely. Even a good player finds it hard to look good when his teammates can't play. The more sophisticated the skills (e.g., finding space, anticipation, etc.) the more this is true. One of the problems with bad coaching at the youth level in the US is that it's easy to see if a player is big and fast, but it's very hard to recognize field vision, positioning, "soccer smarts", etc.
   435. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4364595)
People on Ives' site are calling for Stuart Holden. Yikes.
   436. Textbook Editor Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4364604)
Absolutely. Even a good player finds it hard to look good when his teammates can't play. The more sophisticated the skills (e.g., finding space, anticipation, etc.) the more this is true. One of the problems with bad coaching at the youth level in the US is that it's easy to see if a player is big and fast, but it's very hard to recognize field vision, positioning, "soccer smarts", etc.


Amen.

TE, Jr. is on a U8 "B" team in our local town, which means in our part of the state the team is "flighted" at about Flight 6, meaning (in theory) there's about 30 teams/towns in our part of the state ahead of them skill-wise. The kids on his team are generally pretty enthusiastic about soccer, but by no means are they "big and fast"--they all fall into a bit of a nether region for their age... some "don't look good in jeans" (as the saying goes), others are too small, or too slow, etc. They're playing in an indoor league between seasons against Flight 1 teams and the raw talent level difference between the two is obvious--the U8 kids on the Flight 1 teams are taller, faster, have more booming kicks, etc. They clearly stand out.

But from watching higher-flight teams this past fall and winter, all this "bigger/faster" does is translate into route one soccer. Some kids/teams will pass and try to build up possession, but mainly it's "are our kids bigger/faster than your kids, and do we have a better goalie?" It's Stoke with 7-year-olds.

The coaches TE Jr. has are pretty good and they do try to work with them on possession, passing, etc. but it's hard when all they see "working" is lump it forward and chase after it and hope you get there first/overwhelm the defenders who aren't really taught how to defend. It also doesn't help that "soccer parents" are--by far--the worst when it comes to "cheering"; most try to flat-out coach from the other touchline and (being 7), the kids don't know to just ignore them and pay attention to only their coaches.

You can see in some of these kids the field vision & positioning (albeit at a nascent stage), but because they don't have the physical presence yet, it's almost impossible for them to be successful with crosses into the box/threaded passes, etc. But you do see them trying, and it's wonderful to see, even when it doesn't work. The problem is those skills are not what will get you picked for the "A" team or get you noticed; thumping the ball forward/running fast will.

If you take this one level/area and apply it to the whole of the US soccer system, you can see the problem.

I'm not sure what the solution is, because if route one football is going to get teams victories in U8, U9, U10-level soccer, given the insane competitiveness of the teams/coaches/parents, then route one football is what's going to be played/learned/engrained. Perhaps if the MLS teams had more comprehensive youth academies you'd be able to stamp out some of that, at least for a small portion of the population, but I'm sure that would come with its own set of problems, etc.
   437. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4364609)
436 is a pretty good nutshell description of the flaws in youth soccer. I'll add a couple more:

1. College and ODP coaches emphasize size and speed just as much as U10 coaches do. Most D1 colleges pretty much won't look at a smaller player in the absence of great speed. Technique is secondary. The rot continues all the way up.

The net effect is that the kids who have real skill actually get discouraged from playing, while those who are big and fast get rewarded.

2. The "pay to play" system reinforces the flaws. Coaches need to justify the salary they get paid, which comes out of the parents. Thus, they need to win, and long-term development gets secondary attention.

"Pay to play" also makes it harder to draw the poorer kids, even when clubs try to offer scholarships. The sheer need to find money corrupts the process.
   438. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4364633)
#426, #431, #432, and #434 all raise excellent points.

The game has definitely changed at the highest levels, as it always does. There's still a lot of variability, though. Look at the England-Brazil friendly for a perfect example. Brazil, the kings of technique and flair, have in recent years been on a path of incorporating more and more physicality and directness into their play (the Dunga influence). England, long associated with the other end of the spectrum, have been desperately trying to move the other direction but have found that their technique, inventiveness, and ability to keep possession aren't ready for showtime. Tactics and style are always in flux, but I wonder how much of what we think we need from our talent pool is a product of short-term groupthink.

I think there's a temptation to look at the teams that win the tournaments and the cups and declare their style of play to be indicative of a new trend. The dominance of Barca and Spain heralded the dawning of the era of tiki-taka, of course. But...other than some disciples such as Arsenal (who were tiki-taka before it was cool, man!) and Swansea, the Spanish style hasn't spread very far beyond Spain. And even within Spain itself, there's a healthy contrast in styles between the two top teams. Barca are Barca, and Real Madrid are built around a far more direct approach to goal plus their calling card of ferocious counterattacking speed.

This is not to say the US shouldn't try to develop more technically skilled players who can keep the ball well and play through/around the sorts of teams they encounter in the majority of their CONCACAF matches. They need more of that type of player in order to make qualification a smoother exercise. On the other hand, they shouldn't give up on developing players who are tremendously fit, powerful, and direct either. Not only do those guys have their uses in qualifying, they can often be more effective than the tiki-taka types once the US actually reaches a major tournament.

That difference between CONCACAF qualifying and tournament play is one of the many difficulties facing Klinsmann in developing a long-term plan for this country's soccer program. During qualifying, the US goes into the match as the favorite against every opponent but Mexico. They will therefore be expected to take the game to the opposition rather than sit back and hit the the other team on the break. Once the US reaches the World Cup, though, they're going to be underdogs against at least one and probably two of the other sides in their group. If they try to take the game to those teams, their inferior technique will be exposed and they'll get carved to bits.

So Klinsmann has a tough row to hoe here. He basically needs two distinct teams to significantly improve on Bradley's results: a qualifying team that's more comfortable in possession and creative enough to break down CONCACAF opponents, and a World Cup team that's tighter defensively and quicker and more ruthless on the counter. As the Big Tuna might say, Klinsmann hasn't got the groceries to cook either meal.

The US is basically a typical top African team right now, but with much better goalkeepers. Take away Howard and Guzan, and they'd fit right in at the ACN; all about power and physicality, with just a slight sprinkling of creativity and skill concentrated in a handful of individuals. They don't have enough skillful players to reliably dominate possession and make good use of the ball, and they don't have enough quality in defense, wide positions, and up top to soak up pressure and play on the break.

I can't say I see the situation changing all that much until maybe the next generation of US talent comes along. By which time Klinsmann will almost certainly no longer be in the job. So good luck to him, I guess. I don't envy the task he's got on his hands.
   439. Mattbert Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4364638)
Absolutely. Even a good player finds it hard to look good when his teammates can't play. The more sophisticated the skills (e.g., finding space, anticipation, etc.) the more this is true.

SPURS THINK FACTORY
Gylfi Sigurdsson nods furiously in agreement.

YOUTH THINK FACTORY
On the less strictly provincial subject of the criticisms of soccer development raised in #436 and #437, you might be surprised to learn that those same arguments have been circulating in the English press, virtually verbatim, for years and years. And they have all the money, academies, and broad cultural enthusiasm that the US lacks! So it's not a uniquely American problem. Maybe that's not so reassuring, insofar as we can't just throw money at the problem, or just get more young athletes to choose soccer over other sports, to make it go away.
   440. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4364641)
Mexico - Jamaica on ESPN2 if anyone is interested.
   441. madvillain Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4364642)

Doesn't really seem to me like the USMNT has much of either type of player (athletic verse technical), they don't have many big fast guys and they don't have many technical players either, dunno where the blame lies but I'd guess the blame is shared across the board, from the pool of players that get developed to the development itself.

I saw kids on the fields of NYC during my time there that were clearly in love with the game, like they'd be there every single time I had a softball game or ultimate game. Does US Soccer have any urban presence at all? It really seems focused on the white 'burbs imo and no offense to those kids but they aren't the ones that are going to take us to the next level. All the best suburban athletes play football, baseball or basketball, in that order.

   442. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4364644)
Jamaica is going to regret missing that nearly empty goal ...
   443. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4364649)
Wow, there are easily more riot police guarding Jamaican fans than there are Jamaican fans ...
   444. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4364679)
Some time to go, but if things stay as they are, what's the more disappointing result?

US loss to Honduras away?

Or Mexico tie with Jamaica at home?

[edit]

Ugh ... *another* golden chance squandered for Jamaica ...
   445. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4364681)
Mexico tie. They're the best team in CONCACAF and they are at home.

FWIW, Jamaica shook up their team for this game after crashing out of the Caribbean Cup. And when you're going into Estadio Azteca in a game you are expected to lose, what do you have to lose? So Mexico had little to go on with how they play as a starting XI. Of course that cuts both ways and the Reggae Boyz have no experience together either.
   446. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4364682)
Wow, there are easily more riot police guarding Jamaican fans than there are Jamaican fans ...
Man, you'd think the Jamaican fans would be so mellow, you could guard them with a giant teddy bear.
   447. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4364690)
Uh ... 6 minutes added?
   448. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:23 AM (#4364693)
"Senor Alejandro Ferguson"
   449. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:27 AM (#4364696)
HAPPY BOB MARLEY DAY, JAMAICA!!!
   450. ursus arctos Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4364703)
Probably the most intriguing set of initial results in any Hex to date.
   451. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:33 AM (#4364754)
Well, that was crap yesterday but that first goal from Honduras...just gotta tip your cap to that one. That was a GOAL.

Man, you'd think the Jamaican fans would be so mellow, you could guard them with a giant teddy bear.

Sadly, those police are there to protect them from the very classy El Tri fans. USA supporters get the same riot police guard when the Nats go to Azteca.
   452. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4364768)
Sadly, those police are there to protect them from the very classy El Tri fans. USA supporters get the same riot police guard when the Nats go to Azteca.

I know, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to make a 'Jamaicans are all stoners' joke.
   453. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4364770)
I love it here, give me more money

Also, Jamie Carragher is retiring.
   454. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4364774)
Evidently, Burkina Faso overcame some terrible refereeing yesterday

I didn't see the game but Jonathan Wilson's twitter was appropriately angry.
   455. zack Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4364795)
   456. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4364809)
I think some people in the comments section think that article about Zlatan is real.
   457. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4364838)
I think some people in the comments section think that article about Zlatan is real.
Welcome to the Poe zone Zlatan.
   458. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4364843)
And even within Spain itself, there's a healthy contrast in styles between the two top teams. Barca are Barca, and Real Madrid are built around a far more direct approach to goal plus their calling card of ferocious counterattacking speed.


Completely agreed on the style of play. But the Real players all have outstanding technical proficiency too.
   459. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4364865)
Completely agreed on the style of play. But the Real players all have outstanding technical proficiency too.

For sure. And Barca are no slouches on the counter, for that matter.
   460. Sean Forman Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4364872)
My goal this year as a soccer fan is to actually be able to notice the formations being used on the field and having some idea as to how positions are changing during the game. Because right now I have no ####### clue. When I read a report that they should switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 or vice versa I say to myself, "They are all just jogging around out there pseudo-randomly, how on earth does calling it one thing or another matter?"
   461. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4364884)
Sean, it took me several years of watching to be able to pick that kind of stuff out on the fly with any sort of reliability. You're right that the nature of the sport is so fluid, especially in attack, that formations are often little more than a very rough shorthand. My advice would be to focus on what shape the team adopts when they are defending and have had time to organize and set up. That's when the formation will generally be most readily apparent.
   462. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4364885)
This bit from that Zlatan article confuses me:

The initial wave of praise for Beckham's charity decision last week quickly led to a backlash as French critics are now accusing him of donating his salary, signing a short-term deal and maintaing residence in England as a way to avoid the proposed 75 percent tax rate on France's top earners. But Ibrahimovic finds hypocrisy in this criticism.

Does Beckham get some sort of French version of the charitable deduction on his (theoretical) French income by donating his PSG salary? Because otherwise it seems like he's being criticized for going from being paid 25% of his PSG salary (or whatever it would be after taxes) to 0%, which is what it will be by donating it to charity.

EDIT: Oh, and Sean, the important thing about formations is to know what the team wants to do. That way, if you're ever sitting close enough to the players that they can hear you, you can shout at them. After his visit to Red Bull Arena, Michael Dawson will ne're forget that AVB wants a high line.
   463. Randy Jones Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4364888)
What Mattbert said. Also, I found it easier to just concentrate on 2 or 3 players and their movements at first. Gives an understanding of how certain players move around while still maintaining a general position on the field. Only caveat is that certain players/certain positions are given much more freedom to roam around depending on the manager and the strategy for that particular game.
   464. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4364893)
Does Beckham get some sort of French version of the charitable deduction on his (theoretical) French income by donating his PSG salary? Because otherwise it seems like he's being criticized for going from being paid 25% of his PSG salary (or whatever it would be after taxes) to 0%, which is what it will be by donating it to charity.


He gets a cut of jersey sales, the team is paying his rent, chauffer and other perks.

Sean you can generally see a team's defensive shape on a goal kick. It doesn't tell you everything of course, but you get some clues as to what they want to.
   465. Tom T Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4364911)
You can see in some of these kids the field vision & positioning (albeit at a nascent stage), but because they don't have the physical presence yet, it's almost impossible for them to be successful with crosses into the box/threaded passes, etc. But you do see them trying, and it's wonderful to see, even when it doesn't work. The problem is those skills are not what will get you picked for the "A" team or get you noticed; thumping the ball forward/running fast will.

If you take this one level/area and apply it to the whole of the US soccer system, you can see the problem.

I'm not sure what the solution is, because if route one football is going to get teams victories in U8, U9, U10-level soccer, given the insane competitiveness of the teams/coaches/parents, then route one football is what's going to be played/learned/engrained. Perhaps if the MLS teams had more comprehensive youth academies you'd be able to stamp out some of that, at least for a small portion of the population, but I'm sure that would come with its own set of problems, etc.


This is one of two reasons why my U10 son doesn't play travel ball. We have a solid little rec team (titles 2 of the past 3 seasons) that plays together very well...we aren't fast, we aren't big, but there is a core of kids on the team (6 of the 12, 2 of whom are actually U9 kids playing up) who get the whole "team" idea and have started to incorporate drop passes, etc. into their game over the past year. When we end up playing the travel teams in summer tourneys (the head coach and I pay the fees so we can go), we find happening exactly what was described --- we are competitive as hell, and can hold our own (we're 3-3-2 over the past two years playing local and Indy-based travel teams) the other team will have some giant kid who can outrun us and outkick us, but has generally poor ball-handling skills and non-existent passing. The main problem we find is the large number of coaches (like our league commissioner...) who think that kids plowing through the player while leaving the ball untouched on the ground is "part of the game" so you further find technique being de-valued/discouraged in favor of "thug-ball".

We have spent a lot of time talking to our high school coach, and he always tells parents to have their kids learn technique...it is (in his opinion) the fastest way to get on the field for his team. So, that's what we try to do....

The second reason we don't do travel is that we just aren't convinced that, here in "central" Indiana, travel ball really represents a "step up" in skill or competition. Basically looks like much of the travel system here is affluent whites avoiding having to sully their day by interacting with the poorer classes. We just had an indoor league game against the (Hispanic) team that beat us for the title the last session and it (1-1 tie this time) was tremendous fun to watch teams working to set up open opportunities, etc. The families of those kids (largely immigrants) can't afford to play travel ball, yet their kids clearly are highly advanced in their understanding of the game. We've now had a rivalry with this team for three full sessions, plus now the winter season, and when we are short for tourneys or pickup activities, we call on each other to find replacement players --- just a great team to get to play, and we are clearly both improving because of it. (Now if only the head coach and I understood the game half as well as their coach!)
   466. Manny Coon Posted: February 07, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4364923)
Doesn't really seem to me like the USMNT has much of either type of player (athletic verse technical), they don't have many big fast guys


The US has some fast guys and some big guys, Klinsmann just doesn't like to call them up. Shea is both big and fast, but he might not fully healthy yet, not sure, I'll give him a pass there. Beasley, Joe Corona and Gatt are all fast and playing pretty well for their clubs and were available for this game but not called. Castillo is a fast player and was on the bench for this game and didn't play, he could been used at LB, allowing Fabian Johnson to be used as a wide attacker. Some the best MLS guys like Kenny Cooper, Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon are big. These guys aren't world beating players, but they would give the team more dimensions tactically, similar to the way Bradley used guys like Ching, Casey, Beasley and Findley last cycle; when they won in Honduras in the hex last time, it was Conor Casey bagging two goals.

Size was a big reason why they were so good on set pieces last cycle, we could throw Gooch, Bocanegra, Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore and Casey/Ching all in the box at once on free kick or corner and that was really tough for most teams to match up with, we don't really do that anymore.

If we want a more skilled player Feilhaber is still around, Chris Pontius is one of the best players in MLS is never called up, Bradley even managed to get some useful playing time out of Adu at his last Gold Cup.

Klinsmann just likes selecting a bunch of CMs and jamming them all together out there at once, whether they fit together or not. That could work if we had Ineista, Xavi, Alonso and Fabergas, but we have Kljestan, Zusi, Edu and Jones. Klinsmann could really learn a few things from Bradley or Arena.
   467. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4364962)
Ali Tweedale wrote an interesting breakdown of Liverpool yesterday.
Despite Liverpool's impressive passing statistics - third most possession (58.3%) and fourth best pass success rate (85.3%) in the top flight this season - which can be seen on WhoScored's statistics page - the Reds tend not to be scoring goals as a direct result of their passing game, particularly against the bigger teams. And that might be why results against the other teams in the top ten haven't been up to scratch.

In fact, in Liverpool's 13 games against those nine teams this season, the longest series of passes they have registered directly in the lead up to a goal is four - in the 2-2 draw against Everton at Goodison Park. Even then, the build up to that goal consisted of a Jose Enrique cross that evaded everyone, Suarez firing the ball back towards to goalmouth, only to be finished courtesy of a Leighton Baines own goal. The Reds' second-longest passing move leading to a goal against a top ten side is the two passes prior to Sturridge's long range strike against City on Sunday.

The fact of the matter is that while Brendan Rodgers' commitment to a short passing game is commendable and seems to be something that the Liverpool squad are beginning to enjoy some success with, it is not working against the better teams.
   468. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4364966)
SPURS THINK FACTORY
Thinking back to some the earlier stats discussion regarding which metrics were the best predictors of future success...

Guess who leads the Premier League in shots on target per game AND fewest shots conceded per game.
   469. J. Sosa Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4364968)
re: 460

Tactics blogs aside, it usually boils down to 4-5-1 when not in possession and 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-3 etc when in possession. For all the talk of 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-3, it amounts to the same thing. There are exceptions, but for the most part most teams play with one striker (or none) and 5 (or 6) midfielders. Some teams might use wide midfielders, and some teams might use inverted wingers, and some teams might use interchanging midfielders and some teams might play narrow, but its all the same thing.

re: youth soccer

This is just my anectdotal opinion, but from my experiences I don't think the U.S. will ever become a true soccer power, and to be honest, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. To be a soccer power we would need (more) poverty and academies that make the sport a job for kids. Most succesful development programs abroad involve full time training at academies for young kids who are rarely if ever allowed to play actual games. Its all small sided drills. It may be a cultural thing, but I find it offputting for kids that age.

It is interesting, much of the dicussion on youth soccer in this thread mirrors a conversation I had with one of my assistant coaches. He's from Honduras and was good enough to be on the fringe of making the national team at one time. He would always say that kids here in the States do not see the game the same way as kids in Honduras. He says part of it is that kids here have more amusements, and part of it is that we are limited in how much we can work with the kids. When he was that age he played non stop. I remember last season we were working with our defenders to slide across as cover for their teamates when dragged out of shape or if a fullback went forward. He said that's something that would generally have been understood from a very young age in his experience and would not have had to be taught.

There is a lot of talk of "playing the right way" in youth soccer, and I've always been torn. On one hand, I have a responsability to teach the kids as much as possible. On the other hand, games are competitive, and I don't think it is a bad thing to learn to compete and tailor your tactics from game to game. For awhile we joked that we played as "Stoke in minature". We had two big kids who were strong and could hold the ball up and played enough route 1 to make old timers cry for joy. This past season we had a couple of players who were more skilled that we had worked with for awhile and played in a different fashion. As mentioned earlier as Parcells said, you cook the meal with the groceries available.

Academies don't work that way, actual games are viewed as detrimental. Try telling that to a parent in the U.S. And to be fair, I don't really have any interest in not allowing kids to play actual games. I teach them what I can, scout the opposition, etc. But I ain't in the business of making kid soldiers for the future of the USNT.
   470. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4364971)
Guess who leads the Premier League in shots on target per game AND fewest shots conceded per game.

Not Aston Villa?

Where do the great minds here at BBTF stand on playing Bale as a false 9? That seems to be the hipster question of the moment on the intertubes after the Wales coach and AVB mentioned it as a possibility.

edit: BTW, Bale's goal yesterday was very nifty. I think Joe Allen set him up with a nice, long diagonal and Bale was able to set himself up at a full gallop with his first touch. Very similar to Van Persie's goal against West Ham in the Cup.
   471. J. Sosa Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4364991)
Shooty, as an LFC fan I think that is an excellent idea.

Joking aside, I'm not sure taking a player known for blistering pace and putting him in a withdrawn role in the centre of the pitch is always a good idea. I suppose the intent would be to drag defenders out of position and then torch them with the afterburners, but I think it might be a waste of Bale's talents. Sure Messi does it but other than Pepe he generally doesn't have to deal with destroyers hacking at him with murderous intent like Bale would in the PL. Sure Messi rides a lot of challenges, but the level of accepted violence in La Liga seems to be substantially lower than in the PL.

Its an interesting idea. Put me down as agnostic with the caveat that I'm not sure he has the pressing chops for the role and might also be more subjected to rough play.
   472. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4365003)
Basically looks like much of the travel system here is affluent whites avoiding having to sully their day by interacting with the poorer classes.


That's probably a little more cynical than I'd phrase it, at least here in LA. As I see it, the good coaches want to make more money. They therefore go to the upper middle class geographic areas to coach those kids. Ideally, the wealthier parents would subsidize some lower income kids, but in practice it's hard to work that out all the time.

We have this issue in my club.* I'm constantly pressuring our Technical Director to widen the search for talent into less affluent areas. But we still don't get as many poorer kids as I think we should. I'm going to tell him that yet again at our board meeting next Tuesday.

As I see it, the net effect is what you say, but I think there is a more structural explanation than sheer snobbery (or worse).

*I still call it mine even though I've stepped down from running it.
   473. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4365005)
Where do the great minds here at BBTF stand on playing Bale as a false 9?


I'm pretty much with J. Sosa on this. As an additional factor, I think he'll get injured more if he moves inside. The defenders will sometimes let him go on the wing, but that'll never happen in the middle.
   474. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4365012)
Not Aston Villa?

I know you'll be shocked to learn that Villa are nestled between Reading and Sunderland for the most shots conceded per game and have the third fewest shots on target per game, barely edging Reading and Stoke.

Where do the great minds here at BBTF stand on playing Bale as a false 9? That seems to be the hipster question of the moment on the intertubes after the Wales coach and AVB mentioned it as a possibility.

Now that Adebayor's back, I'm opposed. In his absence I was in favor, although I didn't really see Bale as a false nine. That implies that he'd be dropping deep to collect the ball and attempting to drag the centerbacks upfield so others can run in behind. I saw Bale as good emergency center forward for the opposite tactical reason. His pace would force the centerbacks to play very deep, and this would hopefully create space in one or both of two places: between the opposition's back four and central/holding midfielder(s) and/or in front of said midfielder(s) if they too decided to sit deeper. Holtby would be able to exploit the former, and Dembele would be able to exploit the latter. This would also be a good excuse to give Lennon or Dempsey a game off to rest a bit. Sigurdsson drifting into space from one of the wide positions would be perfect if Bale was successful in driving the centerbacks deep.

Hopefully Adebayor's got a bit of his mojo back, because he's the guy who can really make Tottenham's attack start to look as potent as it did last season. He has the ability to drop deep to receive the ball, pull a defender with him, and then distribute it to a runner himself or via a quick dump-off to an onrushing midfielder. Even though he's a center forward instead of a midfielder, Adebayor's much better at playing the real false nine role than Bale.
   475. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4365013)
Its an interesting idea. Put me down as agnostic with the caveat that I'm not sure he has the pressing chops for the role and might also be more subjected to rough play.

I'm not worried about rough play as they already beat the crap out of him and he's got the motor to press, but he is just so left-footed. I'm kind of curious about how he'd do. He played as a target man against Red Bulls in New York and looked not very good at it, to be honest. If they do move him central, I think it has to be in a withdrawn role so he can get his motor running.
   476. SuperGrover Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4365036)
My goal this year as a soccer fan is to actually be able to notice the formations being used on the field and having some idea as to how positions are changing during the game. Because right now I have no ####### clue. When I read a report that they should switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 or vice versa I say to myself, "They are all just jogging around out there pseudo-randomly, how on earth does calling it one thing or another matter?"


It's a bit difficult for me on the TV but if I pay enough attention I can figure it out. I figure it is much easier with the full 22 view, much like it's easier to see pass pattern combinations and defensive strategies in football with the full 22.

BTW, reading Zonal Markings and blogs of the like before watching a game replay REALLY helped me understand tactical changes. His diagrams are simple but illustrative and his commentary even more so. Fabulous resource.
   477. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4365053)
This is a liitle confusing but potentially important

Financial controls in the PL. The FTA mentions a wage cap of 52 million which can't be right. I suppose it could mean that if you're already over 52 million, you can only increase it by 4 million per year, which would effectively make whatever the teams are paying out now the wage cap, which is kind of insane.
   478. Textbook Editor Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4365059)
We have this issue in my club.* I'm constantly pressuring our Technical Director to widen the search for talent into less affluent areas. But we still don't get as many poorer kids as I think we should. I'm going to tell him that yet again at our board meeting next Tuesday.


One of the fun things about TE Jr.'s U8 team is that it's a really diverse mix of players; there's at least 3 languages being shouted at them from the stands during games. We're in the suburbs, but over the last 10-20 years it's become more of an "inner ring" suburb (I think/hope I'm using that term correctly) and a great side benefit to this is that his soccer and baseball teams are really diverse (as is his school).

The main thing--and this applies to baseball too--is that there's just not that much "time on the ball" being spent by any of these kids outside of structured practice. Since they're 7, of course, they can't drive/bike over to a park to play with their friends, but maybe this will change as they get a little older. I've often thought that getting 10-12 of them together for a 5-on-5 at a local park with small goals--without the coaches being there--would encourage a bit more teamwork/comaraderie.

Thanks to everyone weighing in with youth soccer stories; it's been interesting to hear what other people's experiences are.
   479. SuperGrover Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4365060)
Guess who leads the Premier League in shots on target per game AND fewest shots conceded per game.


Fewest shots conceded or fewest shots on target conceded?

I am presuming it is Spurs for shots or else you probably wouldn't have mentioned it. I know it is CIty for shots on target conceded by some margin.

   480. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4365080)
   481. SuperGrover Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4365097)
The fact of the matter is that while Brendan Rodgers' commitment to a short passing game is commendable and seems to be something that the Liverpool squad are beginning to enjoy some success with, it is not working against the better teams.


Without RTFA, I don't think scoring has been the problem against top teams. They've scored more than Everton and the same as Arsenal if you give the Gunners 3 goals instead of 5 in the Adebayor red card game. City has only scored a bit more. No, in my opinion the real problem for Pool against anyone who can play is that they keep ####### up at the back. They have given up a ton of soft goals against good clubs and their GAPG is the worst of the top 7 v top 7 except for Spurs who have been in three shoot outs (the aforementioned Adebayor red card game, Chelsea and at United). TO me, this is much more of a problem than they fact they haven't scored quite as many against the top sides as they have everyone else.

FYI...top 7 v top 7 numbers (GSPG/GAPG/GD):

CHE 1.86/1.29/0.57
MUN 1.88/1.50/0.38
MCI 1.50/1.25/0.25
EVE 0.89/0.78/0.11
ARS 1.56/1.56/0
LIV 1.33/1.89/-0.56
TOT 1.71/2.43/-0.71


   482. madvillain Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4365109)
Question for the board's experts:

Someone pointed out on another forum I was reading (think it was Big Soccer) that Chandler yesterday was in an impossible position because he was responsible for leading the attack down the flank (because the formation was narrow with no real wingers) and thus was put into an impossible situation of racing up the flank then racing back to mark -- and it was no wonder he was gassed after 25 minutes.

Is this accurate? If so, what's the solution to get more width in the attack without relying so much runs from the back? I'd guess the first place to start would be "call up Landon Donovan".

Thanks in advance.
   483. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4365120)
The main thing--and this applies to baseball too--is that there's just not that much "time on the ball" being spent by any of these kids outside of structured practice. Since they're 7, of course, they can't drive/bike over to a park to play with their friends, but maybe this will change as they get a little older. I've often thought that getting 10-12 of them together for a 5-on-5 at a local park with small goals--without the coaches being there--would encourage a bit more teamwork/comaraderie.

I played football unsupervised at age 7 all the time. I blame the lack of helicopter parents in 1990.
   484. J. Sosa Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4365135)
Madvillian, I'm no expert, but what you are referring to is something that South American and Spanish players frequently criticize the PL for. I.E., one (or both!) fullbacks bombing forward without adequate cover. I recall reading interviews by Fabregas and Suarez that make this criticism of the English game. I guess it applies to the American game as well.

To answer your question, the usual solution when you have a fullback bombing forward is for a holding midfielder to pull back (for example, Barca does this with Busquets to cover for Alves). I didn't watch the game, but I'm assuming the criticism is that they didn't do that and maybe also use a midfielder to cover for the fullback going forward. I haven't watched La Liga much this year, but that's why Real Madrid had players that tended to be interchangeable. Marcelo and Contraeo for example, they both kind of did the same thing, and could alternate roles.

Its something that made me appreciate the Dirk Kuyts of the world. "Taxi for Maicon" is a fun thing to chant, but having a player like Biabany marking on the wing ahead of you against the Gareth Bale's of the world is no fun if you are an aging fullback like Maicon. It goes back to what the thread has been talking about, there seems to be a fundamental level of understanding that the American game (and English to a lesser degree) don't get. I would have to be convinced that Klinsmann was unware of the problem, I think its more likely that the players themselves did not adjust in a fluid manner. A holding midfielder should have extended the back line, and another midfielder should have slid to cover. It would not surprise me if we didn't have the sophistication to do it. Its a hard thing to coach, it mainly comes from playing together a lot.
   485. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4365139)
I played football unsupervised at age 7 all the time. I blame the lack of helicopter parents in 1990.


Same here. Funny, my personal belief is that the problem back in the 80's/90's was the lack of examples to emulate. I think that there was more pickup soccer being played, but I think few were exposed to professional play at the time. The top players that I ever witnessed were college level play because of the lack of tv exposure, so that was what we tried to become. Now, American kids can watch EPL, La Liga and witness the greats in ways that we can't, but as mentioned they just don't have the early "time on the ball" to become those guys. The opposite is what you've seen worldwide in basketball as the NBA began to be televised all around the globe in the 90s, now you see pro level talent popping up everywhere.
   486. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4365143)
Is this accurate? If so, what's the solution to get more width in the attack without relying so much runs from the back? I'd guess the first place to start would be "call up Landon Donovan".


With the caveat that I didn't see the game, it sounds like it was a problem. Cooler weather enables coaches to demand more running from the outside defenders, and they sometimes don't account for the heat as much as they should.

One solution is to require more tracking back from the midfielders, but of course that merely shifts the problem from Chandler to them. Better would be more attacking threat from the right side and better possession overall; those would keep the defense pinned back and reduce the need to sprint back so often.

That's a long-winded way of saying that having Landon would really help, but so would holding on to the ball better.
   487. madvillain Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4365145)
Thanks J. Sosa one this this US Team certainly doesn't have is much experience playing together.
   488. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4365147)
It goes back to what the thread has been talking about, there seems to be a fundamental level of understanding that the American game (and English to a lesser degree) don't get. I would have to be convinced that Klinsmann was unware of the problem, I think its more likely that the players themselves did not adjust in a fluid manner. A holding midfielder should have extended the back line, and another midfielder should have slid to cover.

Well that's basically how Germany conceded the first goal to Italy at the Euros...
   489. Langer Monk Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4365149)
I think the heat/humidity had a lot more to do with players being gassed.

Also, the 4-3-3 tends to be a more narrow formation anyway. The expectation is that the outside fullbacks will push up. I didn't necessarily notice that the lack of width was detrimental.

BTW, I didn't take last night's loss as a tactical failure - the problem on the back end was dis-organization (although by luck or design they did get a good number of offsides) on some plays, and the two goals against were: 1)a superb bicycle kick - the break down in allowing the corner, and then inability to clear or cover the guy that chested the ball led to the undefendable shot, and 2) just a mistake by Gonzalez to not hustle to clear the ball instead of looking over his shoulder to see where the other striker was.

If Gonzalez (or Cameron before that - the announcers were hard on him, but I don't know if I'd place more blame on him than Gonzalez) clears that ball, it's a difficult 1-1 draw on the road in tough weather.
   490. Manny Coon Posted: February 07, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4365151)
Someone pointed out on another forum I was reading (think it was Big Soccer) that Chandler yesterday was in an impossible position because he was responsible for leading the attack down the flank (because the formation was narrow with no real wingers) and thus was put into an impossible situation of racing up the flank then racing back to mark -- and it was no wonder he was gassed after 25 minutes.

Is this accurate? If so, what's the solution to get more width in the attack without relying so much runs from the back? I'd guess the first place to start would be "call up Landon Donovan".


Yes, it's pretty accurate, I think Jones was supposed to move over the fill in the space on the right at times as well but never really did. I'm not entirely sure, but I think Chandler may have been coming off an injury as well.

The best way to help with this problem would be actually playing a right midfielder instead of the weird unbalanced thing we were using. You could use Castillo at LB and play F. Johnson at RM, play Parkhurst at RB and Chandler at RM, call up someone like Pontius, Gatt, Corona or Beasley to play there, have Dempsey up wider, there a lot of options, Klinsmann apparently thought no right midfielder was the best option though.
   491. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4365171)
Is this accurate? If so, what's the solution to get more width in the attack without relying so much runs from the back?


Not making your front six consist of five central players is a good place to start.
   492. Swedish Chef Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4365176)
Financial controls in the PL. The FTA mentions a wage cap of 52 million which can't be right. I suppose it could mean that if you're already over 52 million, you can only increase it by 4 million per year, which would effectively make whatever the teams are paying out now the wage cap, which is kind of insane.

I wonder how harsh it can be if Chelsea voted for it.
   493. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4365184)
I wonder how harsh it can be if Chelsea voted for it.

Right. The details in the article don't make much sense to me. I'll have to wait for something more informative.
   494. Swedish Chef Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4365187)
My goal this year as a soccer fan is to actually be able to notice the formations being used on the field and having some idea as to how positions are changing during the game. Because right now I have no ####### clue.

In Sweden it's easy, it's always Two Banks of Four, like the prophets Bob (Houghton) and Roy (Hodgson) preached.

Nah, some teams actually use different tactics, but once they lose for a bit they always come running back to ol' 4-4-2.
   495. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4365193)
Nah, some teams actually use different tactics, but once they lose for a bit they always come running back to ol' 4-4-2.

Kinda like England.
   496. madvillain Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4365198)
The best way to help with this problem would be actually playing a right midfielder instead of the weird unbalanced thing we were using. You could use Castillo at LB and play F. Johnson at RM, play Parkhurst at RB and Chandler at RM, call up someone like Pontius, Gatt, Corona or Beasley to play there, have Dempsey up wider, there a lot of options, Klinsmann apparently thought no right midfielder was the best option though.


Why don't we do a 4-3-3 with Fabian Johnson at RM, Brek Shea or Chandler (once he gets some training in with Stoke) at LM, Bradley in the middle, then some combo of Dempsey/Altidore/Gomez/Johnson up top?

Seems like Klinsy is trying to get the most talented players on the field regardless if they are playing out of position or not, so far it's not working.
   497. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4365199)
David Conn on the new PL wage restrictions

There basically isn't one. The main thrust of it is a team can only lose 105 million pounds over 3 years before the PL will deduct points. The main objective seems to be to prevent another Abramovich or Sheik Mansour. It should be noted the 105 million pounds are a lot more than the FFP would allow but their isn't much detail yet on the loopholes. I think Chelsea would vote for his because it effectively closes up shop on another Man City and, if your Chelsea, it must be annoying to be dearly hanging onto third place right now instead of barely hanging onto second place. Man City voted against, naturally, though I think these regulations help them in the long term, too. If the Qataris wanted to jump into the PL and make a splash, too late!

   498. Mattbert Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4365207)
Fewest shots conceded or fewest shots on target conceded?

I am presuming it is Spurs for shots or else you probably wouldn't have mentioned it. I know it is CIty for shots on target conceded by some margin.


Just shots conceded, Grover. WhoScored only splits out SoT on the attacking stats, not defensive.

City is only just behind Tottenham in shots per game conceded (9.6 to 9.5), so it's not a big shock that they could be better in SoT conceded.
   499. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4365218)
Why don't we do a 4-3-3 with Fabian Johnson at RM, Brek Shea or Chandler (once he gets some training in with Stoke) at LM, Bradley in the middle, then some combo of Dempsey/Altidore/Gomez/Johnson up top?


The basic answer is that the back 4 isn't good enough. They need more cover in the midfield, which is why Klinsmann loves Williams/Beckerman. If we had enough offensive pressure (like Man Utd, for example), and a good back 4, we could probably succeed with a lineup like you suggest. Unfortunately, I think that lineup would not give us enough offense and would expose the defense.
   500. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4365223)
It should be noted the 105 million pounds are a lot more than the FFP would allow but their isn't much detail yet on the loopholes. I think Chelsea would vote for his because it effectively closes up shop on another Man City and, if your Chelsea, it must be annoying to be dearly hanging onto third place right now instead of barely hanging onto second place.
Ah, the sweet mental image of Roman madly pulling up the ladder.
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