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Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by SPA2TACU5, Feb 16, 2013.
Got to slide 43 and had to stop. Too depressing.
Good stuff. Good, depressing, damning, infuriating stuff.
I'm guessing there was a conscious decision not to press because of the heat but we were not getting a similar advantage on the other side of the ball. Wrong personnel for that?
I saw a game in Dallas last year during their heat wave when they had record number of days over 100 degrees and there was a significant change of usual pace.
I'm not sure what the smart thing to do in such instances would be. Put more offensive ball handlers on who can play keep away and make the other the guy chase? Dunno. Whatever it mite be, JK wasnt prepared for it. Those dark kits.......
Wow. That was terrible. BTW, this was one of the worst games I've seen Michael Bradley play, anywhere. Guy was walking over there, a defensive liability.
Spacing on the field is terrible - Altidore and Dempsey neither put on the pressure nor drop back fast enough. Eddie Johnson is stuck to his vertical line (probably as told). This leaves three midfielders to cover the entire width of the field, with the central defenders dropping too far back. It's a complete coaching botch because, unlike personal mistakes, spacing throughout the game is correctable.
This team was too spread out, with the distance between forwards and defense often exceeding 60 yards (Jogi Löw wants it at 30m), the midfield has too much work to do going both ways and is inevitably tired in that heat. When that becomes obvious by the middle of the first half, the solution is to reconfigure the team, bring both lines much closer to each other and to create a greater pressure on the ball, while availing an outlet for its own possession. In that sense, 4-3-3 - a formation designed for a predominantly attacking game plan - was an idiotic plan to choose.
Additionally, 4-3-3 requires decent amount of speed across the lines but Dempsey's, Jones', Bradley's, Williams' and Altidore's foot speed is at best average ... on average, against a very athletic Honduras squad. That negated the 4-3-3's main advantage of having the field spread out for a lot of the individual ball advancement. (For those newer to the game, 4-3-3 was introduced by the 1962 WC winning Brazil team, with the unstoppable Garrincha often playing the right outside forward and a favorite scheme of such attack minded coaches like Helmut Schön, Cesar Menotti, Enzo Bearzot, Zdenek Zeman and a bunch of Dutchmen over the last 40 years). Moreover, these famous 4-3-3's were loaded with attacking talent across the board and took corresponding risks in their game plans.
None of that played into the US strengths and all of them played to emphasize its weaknesses.
Fail, fail, fail, fail.
The utter confusion and lack of an apparent system is worrying. Extremely worrying if I'm to believe JK will suddenly fix it about four weeks from now as some suggest.
He's now had ample time to implement his system, study CONCACAF opponents, travel to visit venues and watch matches, get a better understanding of our player pool and how to use players and to make it look like we have even an inkling of a clue of what we're trying to do out there.
That's what's so worrying. Our players look lost, and we're far past the point they should look that way. It goes beyond JK's roster pickings, formations, in-game adjustments/subs and use of players. It's that this team isn't close to being on the same page or close to looking like a system is actually being implemented and understood. The movement and spacing is atrocious. Our guys just don't know where to be or what this system asks, and I question if there even is a competent system.
The lack of talent excuse is only a part. It's the roles these players have in our formations that none look like they understand, and it's our better players as well. Guys like Jozy, Clint, MB and FJ aren't tactically inept. But they can appear that way in this shit system, largely hung out to dry. That's what's crazy, we're heading towards rounds two and three in the Hex and JK still doesn't have an idea of how best to use our top players. It's why even if we get guys like Landon and Holden back and younger guys like Shea and Gatt show they're ready, it still only helps so much when your coach can't even instill a system with basic movement and can't get players on the same page defensively. Holden only does so much if he doesn't have options going forward. Landon only does so much if he's not seeing the ball because our mids can't connect and doesn't have numbers going forward(where we've already seen this problem frequently when Landon did play under JK). FJ's forward runs don't help if his lanes are cut off by our mids or a guy like EJ, or if the communication isn't there to shift over and cover his runs. And on and on. There's numerous scenarios with a number of players.
I want to know what exactly JK is teaching these guys when we have camps aside from improving their karma.
- "4-3-3" (but not really) in combination with:
- no right wing
- no real left winger (EJ doesn't know what to do)
- no forward press
- no press on the ball
- chaos when pressing
- no high-line
- disconnect between defense and midfield
- chaos when marking
- no patience in possession
- zero use of Howard as outlet
That's right - a formation, which was designed to spread the field in the attack, was intentionally congested by an own scheme. The idea was to cross the ball from the flanks but it was clumsily executed. On a cooler day, it may have had a ghost of a chance but there was no way the three forwards could help the defense and then have any energy left for the attack. And, if they can't run back and forth, you have the 3-man midfield covering about three-fourth of the field because the defense hangs back too far in own half. I suppose that, if one goes all out, he can press high with the defense and throw the fullbacks forward into the midfield but, given the Honduras's speed, they would have only resulted in a dozen breakaways a la Bruce's game plan in 2001.
BTW, the Catrachos got lucky vs. Spain in the Olympics (4 goal posts hit, as I recall, by Furia Roja) but they did hold their own vs. Switzerland in the last World Cup and Honduras's counterattacks were very dangerous.
And this was a pretty decent Swiss side under a very experienced European coach. (the Honduran squad had several veterans that are no longer part of their scene)
Zero long ball option. No besler to Shea, say, to keep the Hondurans honest. Concacaf used two people on Shea when I saw him play. That is a start. Honduras never paid for their audacity.
Thanks for the work on this, Spartacus.
Doesn't change my initial reactions that the combination of no camp + travel fatigue + hot and humid playing conditions + an unfamiliar back 4 really did us in. Had we pressed more, we would have tired faster. Had we compressed the field and played a high line, our unfamiliar back line would've been even more exposed to through balls and balls over the top.
We did manage a great chance from Jozy and a goal from Clint. And both of their goals were significantly a result of miscommunication among the back 4 and Howard. I'll take this outcome as a sign that we approached the game -- given travel + heat + personnel -- with reasonable tactics. Even before the game began, this one was going to be difficult.
If we look like that against Costa Rica, then I'll be worried.
It is a factor of things, and difficult to say with any uncertainty which caused what.
Just some thoughts:
- Agreed: A high line without a well organized press on the ball will probably have a disastrous effect. My criticism here: we haven't practiced this as much as we could and should have over the past 18 months.
- Honduras didn't seem to have a lot of trouble with the conditions and they only played three or four players active in Honduras.
- Our top players should be a great shape; way better shape than most of the Hondurans.
- I think defending takes up more energy then keeping possession.
- I don't think we should have pressed high up the field in these conditions, but we should have put a lot more pressure on the ball once Honduras entered our half of the playing field.
- The '4-3-3' in combination with our defensive line hanging back was a bad game plan.
- The lack of wide players makes it very easy for opponents to shut us down.
They've had many players in camp since January. In addition, the conditions were part of their game plan. They are the only country to play in the afternoon for this weekday game and the government declared a national holiday to get a full stadium. I believe that the current schedule was created to remove advantages. The US does not get a Feb home game. All games are on weekdays so supposedly they should be at night when Mexican high altitude glare and tropical heat have less advantage. Honduras managed to get around this.
So in this case we found ourselves in a situation where we lost the fitness advantage due to Honduras use of their locale. I don't believe this is something that Klinsmann was expecting to see and maybe has ever seen in his career and so he was not prepared for it. What he should have done in this situation is too realize that we had to abandon some aspect of the press/possession game. Now, in South America - where these type of road games happen all the time - what's typically done is to try to establish a short pass game and build up rhythm and try to work the ball up to the opposite side. You have to avoid the high press, speculative passes and shots and you should only work up the field with a limited number of players making sure that the majority of your players are on the goalside of the ball. Once the ball is lost, you should not high press but rather drop back. The team should try to conserve energy until the last 20 minutes of the game where they can suddenly go into an explosive high energy game. Rope a dope so to speak.
What we saw instead is players running out of energy and some deciding to do more high press, others dropping back more and others trying to boot the ball more. There wasn't a coherent strategy for this situation. This is on Martin's shoulders, I believe. He should have the experience to know the condition and how to play in these conditions.
Which of these players had been in camp since January? And by 'since January' you mean...?
Víctor Bernárdez, SJ
Maynor Figueroa, Wigan
Juan Carlos García, Olimpia
Arnold Peralta, Vida
Roger Espinoza, Wigan
Oscar Boniek García, Houston
Luis Garrido, Red Star Belgrade
Mario Martínez, Seattle
Jerry Bengtson, NE Revs
Carlo Costly, Veria
On Jan 8:
Víctor Bernández (San José, MLS), Bonnie García (Dynamo, MLS), Mario Martínez (Seatle Sounders, MLS), Jerry Bengston (New England, MLS) y Marvin Chávez (San José, MLS). Donis Escober (Olimpia), Kevin Hernández (Real España), Miguel Castillo (libre), José Mendoza (Marathon), Juan Carlos García (Olimpia), Wilmer Crisanto (Victoria), Bryan Bekeles (Olimpia), Orlin Peralta (Vida), George Welcome (Motagua),
The good news about this match is that all of the mistakes, tactical and otherwise, are correctable. Let's correct them and move forward.
Even better, all the above players played five significant games during January. The Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica. So yes, a fair amount of the Honduran team was very acclimated.
Edit: 7 of the Hondura's starters in this game have been playing together since January.
Edit again: I'm green with envy that they were given the opportunity to throw together such an advantage. A whole month together. A significant but low pressure tournament. Nicely done, Central America, nicely done.
Guys given that this is N&A and assuming that you did watch the match, what about the 2nd half? What were the changes or improvements once we switched tactical formations? Again you did watch the match, right? You did notice that we switched tactical formations, right? So we played the first half in a 4-3-3 and tied 1-1. We played the 2nd half in a 4-4-2 and lost 0-1
1st half 4-3-2-1 (4-3-3 variant)
2nd half = 4-1-3-2 (4-4-2 variant)
Kljestan sub= 4-1-3-2 (4-4-2 variant)
So we played the first half in a 4-3-3 and tied 1-1. We played the 2nd half in a 4-4-2 and lost 0-1!
We weren't playing a real 4-3-3 in the first half, but Klinsmann's asymmetrical system without a right winger. Which was sort of to mimic a 4-3-3 when we'd win possession.
Klinsmann switched to a 4-4-2 at half time, with - like you said - Johnson playing as a second striker. I didn't notice much difference in Dempsey's position, which was all out through the game pretty much positionless (floating around the axis of the field) and very (too) direct. As a 'left flank player' I don't think he ever got a ball contact anywhere near the sideline.
After half time we got more control in midfield.
I think at this point the '4-3-3' had taken its toll, and our bench/squad selection didn't allow us to play everyone in their natural positions (ie. Kljestan at left mid, Zusi lost somewhere between the right and Dmid).
As for the "we played the first half in a 4-3-3 and tied 1-1. We played the 2nd half in a 4-4-2 and lost 0-1!": I don't really get this. You were blaming much of this loss on Gonzalez so why would you now try to make the superficial argument based on scoreline that the first half 4-3-3 was successful and second half 4-4-2 wasn't?
taken as a series of snapshots this match actually looks worse than the watching. Players quitting, bad planning, obvious technical mistakes, lack of urgency...we all expect these matches to be awful, but Hondy finished the way we usually do.
I am worried.
Not sure if it was a 4-3-3 in first half but did seem close to it. In one slide, it showed the US with 2 banks of 4 behind the ball while defending with EJ on the left. However, too much space between the back line and midfield.
4-3-3 for the USMNT is not a good choice except against inferior opposition, imo. The US playing a 4-3-3 in Honduras in the afternoon heat and humidity was never going to work as it requires all 10 players to press together. You can't have 3 guys up top if they aren't going to defend. If one player doesn't do their job pressing, it falls apart. If the wings don't come back to help pinch opposition flank players between them, the fullback and CM on that side, the opposition will have a field day on the flanks and the CM's will get worn out. If the fullbacks don't get up the flank, the team will have no width. If the 3 attackers don't interchange effectively, they become predictable for the opposing defense. If the CB's aren't comfortable keeping a high line, the midfield has to drop in order to keep the space between them and the backline from being exploited. This was another strange reason to me to see Omar starting as it appears to me when I watch him with LA, he likes to defend deep and is quick to drop back.
Playing the 4-3-3 effectively at a high level isn't something that come together with just a couple weeks of practice together. Sure, you can line up and do the basic look and movement but it takes a lot of experience to do it well and if you don't do it well, you are in for a long day, especially the 3 CM's. I'm not sure who on the US has that kind of experience playing a pressing 4-3-3 with their club. Bradley with Roma although one could argue about how well they played a 4-3-3 when looking at the number of goals conceded. Does AZ play a 4-3-3? (FWIW, I thought Jozy did some decent defensive work in this game).
JK thinking they were going to press in a 4-3-3 in those conditions with the lack of team experience and player selection was incredibly optimistic (naïve?) and guaranteed an exhausted, ineffective team by the second half along with sealing their fate (imo).
In comparative negligence, this sort of looked like the Dutch disastrous 2012 Euros - forwards and the AM's stayed up high, defenders stayed way back and the midfielders that were responsible for connecting the back with the front were low on gas and giving away chunks of space to the opposition.
"Good" 4-3-3 like the one Mourinho had at Chelsea really requires a tight defensive positioning with the wingers coming to aid the defense to morph the system into 4-5-1, while only leaving a sole striker upfront, then "recoiling" into the attack again. Once the advantage was achieved on the scoreboard, the team could rest while keeping the possession.
Vs. Honduras, the US attack wasn't dropping off enough to help its own midfield and the defense was falling too far into its own penalty box, which had Honduras with a ton of space ( of course, on the second goal, Timmay was stuck on the goal line instead of 6-8 yards ahead of it) and, even when the US players did defend in numbers, the marking itself was shockingly lackadaisical.
The second half was closer to 4-4-1-1 in formation but Kljestan and Zusi were poor wingers (Kljestan not in his normal position, Zusi outside of his normal weight class), Dempsey largely trotted in slow motion, Bradley was caught out a lot and only Edu contributed anything approaching expectations.
Yes, it was a shite game with many to blame. March 22 can't get here fast enough to put this memory behind. The lack of ball pressure is mind boggling considering we had Williams, Bradley and Jones on the field.
In trying to stay positive the USA still has over a year to get it's act together. I'm not worried about qualifying. At least not yet.