Speed Lineup

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by DigitalTron, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    I've been thinking about two different awkward situations at United, and trying to resolve them harmoniously.

    1) United's strikers usually face a well positioned defense with at least 4 defenders between them and the goal. This makes it VERY difficult to get a good shot on goal.

    2) United has Reyes, Prideaux and Olsen who can all play right back and all need to be on the pitch because they're great players, but they never seem to fit when using Hudson's preferred (and my preferred) system of 352.

    After much thought, I came to these conclusions:

    1. United needs to play the ball through midfield FAST in order to give our strikers a chance to create space and get good shots.

    2. Prideaux and Pope should be totally dedicated to defense without added responsibilities of moving forward (except Pope on set pieces).

    3. United needs an organizer in between Prideaux and Pope to position the defense and create fierce defensive line in front of our stone wall Rimando.

    4. The Dmid + Hmid (Defense and Holding mids) must possess the ability to quickly link the back line to the forward line freeing up our attacking mid to attack.

    So, then I had an epiphany. The result was a 352 that includes a lightning fast (both with and without the ball) midfield, links the defense and offense, gets all of the right players on the pitch in their best roles, and creates better chances for our strikers. So here is my speed lineup:





    The key to this is having Reyes shift to Dmid, which I think he could handle very easily. Olsen could play right wing, or he could become our Hmid, shifting all over the field. Having Olsen in the center of the pitch between Convey and Reyes should allow United to move the ball very quickly through midfield to Moreno and Santino (when healthy). Convey now tracks back, as does Namoff, so I think we'd be fine in the back.

    Reyes and Olsen have speed, stamina, and play fearless and intelligent defense. Reyes would be our stay at home destroyer mid and Olsen would play Ian Bishops role as offense and defense mid. Like Simon Elliott, he could move forward on offense to create havoc.

    Having a very compact back line of Prideaux, Nelsen and Pope will create very few errors. As long as the wing backs track back, we should continue to play air-tight defense. I am not sure if Eliseo is ideally suited for this role, but given our injury history I'm sure he'll be seeing a lot of time on the pitch somewhere.

    In this formation, Ritchie Williams--an excellent Destroyer Dmid--would be replaced by Reyes, who can do the defensive work and add a linking element that we lack. When we're protecting a lead we can insert Williams into Olsen's spot and move Ben to right wing.

    This is a radical move, and likely not something Hudson would be willing to do until the offseason, but after mulling over all of this stuff in my mind, I think it's our best lineup. We can then use the draft to take some young defenders to shore up our back 3. If Mapp has a full offseason and training camp with the team, I think he could be a contributor on the left wing, freeing Convey to play a withdrawn-forward/attacking-mid role when Etch isn't at full health.

  2. Hezbolt

    Hezbolt New Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    La Norte

    I like your idea, however I would use Tino and Namoff on the wing instead of Elisio and Namoff.

    Tino has played there for us in the past and was pretty effective. His defensive awareness is improving and I think with a little more work on the defensive side he could fill in there as well. It might also free him up a little for his long range shots he is willing to take.
  3. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Ideally I would have Santino on the right wing for just the reasons you mentioned. But my fear is that we will not add an impact forward next season, and with Moreno's injury status over the last few years, we may need Santino up top.

    I agree though, Santino can become quite a threat at the right wing with his quick turning ability and tremendous shot. He also has the speed, instincts and ability to play defense on the wings, so he would thrive there. Also, on offense, he performs best when he has space to work with the ball. He is best running at defenders in space, and the wing is perfect for that. He would also be marked less stringently from the right wing. So, if we could get a Dalglish or similar impact striker, that would be a great adjustment.

  4. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    And I'd still use Olsen on the wing. Two reasons:

    1) You mention that we need to move the ball fast through midfield in order to have many chances against well positioned defenses. True. But more important to me is making it so that the defense doesn't know where the ball is coming from- what side of the field that is. I see a major problem for our team is that we have very little creativity bringing the ball up and almost all of it comes from the left side and Convey/McKinley/Etcheverry. The right side with Villegas and Reyes can move the ball but don't create dangerous opportunities. (The fault is mainly Villegas here.) But if we have Convey on one side and Olsen on the other with Etch and someone else in the middle all streaming forward and looking to switch the point of attack like happened back in the good old days than a lot of our problems get solved. In other words we need to spread the field. Otherwise no matter how fast we go forward on the left the defense will be waiting as they need fewer people back to stop it. If we spread the field well enough then it will be easier to unbalance the defense as they will always have to be aware of their weakside defense (which ain't happening now).

    That's why I still want Olsen and Convey on the wings, at least until we see someone else be effective there. At the moment they are the only two players who can be dangerous out there. Olsen and Covey could very quickly develop a rapport where they could switch sides quickly, furthering the defense's confusion.

    As you note, there are other possibilities on the wing but right now at least (and at the beginning of next year) all the other options would be a step down from Convey and Olsen. Reyes is an unknown as a midfield wing with that much offensive responsibility and Namoff is even more unproven. I can't expect that either would step into the position and dominate like Olsen can. Mapp I presume will get there but he'll get there in two years. Ideally I'd like another veteran winger to backup Convey and Olsen before I shift other guys into their places. I would like to see their backups as a holding mid near Williams and Etcheverry before putting them on the island of the wing:


    Bottom line is that Olsen is our best winger and Convey is our second best. with Etch they will make it so the opposition won't ever be able to be comfortable and in position waiting for our attack.
  5. Wizardscharter

    Wizardscharter New Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Blue Springs, MO
    At the risk of oversimplifying things your tact is to load up on speed. Not to be insulting, but only taking that to an extreme ---> You can put 10 GW track sprinters out there in front of Rimando and still get beat. More realistically, my point is: You need skill somewhere. I see youth, speed, Moreno, Pope, Etch, and the promise of Olsen post-surgury. You can make an arguement that an older Etch could be countered with a worker mid that pays attention to him. That leaves a hole or two.

    Of the four conclusions listed above, all of them seem to be fairly universal to the whole league for any lineup (sub other Ds in for Prideaux and Pope).

    I hope KC is lucky enough to see something close to this lineup Saturday.
  6. JPNutter

    JPNutter New Member

    Aug 4, 2002
    Kansas City
    Thanks Boys

    I just wanted to thank you guys for giving us, KC, Talley and Armstrong. Both are starting and doing very well. I did like Prideaux but all in all it was a steal.
  7. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Skilled Speed Lineup

    Well, there is where we disagree. You can have the GW track team, but my team already has skill. The difference is that these skilled players actually complement one another by utilizing a common trait that enhances their game ... speed. Bruce Arena seems to have a decent eye for talent, and he rates Moreno, Olsen and Convey's talent very highly, so its not just a track team.

    Actually, I don't hold my four conclusions as maxims for the league. Most teams in the league presently have a solution, or think they do. The lack of an organizer has caused New England's defense to be a sieve, and Columbus' to give away games. When those teams have Llamosa and Torres organizing the defense, they do a lot better. Just look at how much the Dallas Burn improved with an organizer. They thought they had one before Morrow ... but they really didn't. My conclusion is that United's previous organizers weren't good enough at that particular skill. Prideaux is a great defender, but he's not an organizer.

    Many people cried bloody murder when Hankinson said he was going to move Mastroeni to Dmid. They said he'd been there and done poorly. What they didn't realize was that Dmid is a very important and very difficult position. Generally good defenders "graduate" up to Dmid. Dmids and Organizing Center Backs are probably the most important defensive positions on the team. I'm saying that Reyes is ready to graduate up to Dmid, and Olsen is ready to graduate from winger to Holding Mid.

  8. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    Re: Thanks Boys

    You're a nutter!

    KC isn't exactly going to win anything anytime soon.
  9. sormun

    sormun New Member

    Jul 13, 1999

    I think it is useless to try anything with this midfield.They are submediocre as professional players.There is no formula to speed up the game.Let's replace everybody in midfield and than you will see a diferent DCU.If, RH keeps this horrible midfield nothing will change.

    Changeing players' positions does not improve their skills or physical qualities.That is why, I do not believe that a new formula will change the game.It may create confusion and become a source of mistakes.

    This team has a very poor training record as we know.Do you think they have the capacity to train in a different formula??? I do not think so !!

    Forget about strategic changes(" I have been there I have done that"), there is only one alternative to get the team back on track:KICK THE MIDFIELD OUT!!!.......
  10. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Re: Re: Speed Lineup

    And replace them with whom?

    Seriously sormun, I don't begrudge you your enthusiasm to see this team improve but how on God's green Earth can the team improve by releasing the entire midfield and bring in players that A) they can't afford and B) players that are already playing at a lower level of play (your beloved A-League substitutes)...

    I just don't see your twisted logic working here..

    Please, if you can, name these replacement players and tell me how they can be more effective than the current lot (which admittedly isn't much to sneeze at these days)...

    I'll say it again, it's funny how you think you Bobby Convey is such a crap player yet people like Paul Gascoigne and Bruce Arena thinks that he is a brilliant player..

    I'll take their word over yours any ol' day of the week....
  11. Wizardscharter

    Wizardscharter New Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Blue Springs, MO
    Re: Re: Thanks Boys

    You might be right. Then again, KC is involved in 3 Cups DC isn't, or will not be. Ouch.
  12. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Reyes as Dmid

    Getting back to the topic, Reyes reads dangerous situations very well, is excellent at physically stunting offensives and man-marking. In addition, he has tremendous recovery speed, an unlimited supply of stamina, and some offensive skills.

    His offensive skills really are the ability to hold possession and quickly dribble upfield by most marks, and make passes while dribbling at speed. These are ideal characteristics for a Dmid because he can link the defense to the offense effortlessly without giving up any counter-attacks.

    Most opposing teams guard our flanks when we get the ball in our defensive third. They encourage us to play it to Richie Williams, and then they close him down, knowing that it will result in a turnover, a backpass or at worst a square pass. This provides time for their defenders to get back into position and well behind the ball. Replacing him with Reyes would force them to change their strategy.

  13. sormun

    sormun New Member

    Jul 13, 1999
    Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

  14. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

    No dispespect, but you have "past experience with professional and national soccer teams" and cannot come up with any names!

    Do you understand the magnitude of the undertaking you are proposing?

    Given the current resources of MLS in general and DC United in particular, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack!
  15. TEConnor

    TEConnor New Member

    Feb 22, 1999
    Speed is not the end-all answer. The line-up suggestions are fine. Best we have, really. Tactically, there is no simple answer. As Ray said, we simply need better players in several positions.

    We have an abundance of speed. If speed were the answer, Villegas would be our best player, Conteh would never have been waived, and Lassiter and Ali would be effective.

    Speed with the ball through midfield is simply a counter attack. That was by a wide margin the worst aspect of United's game in season's 2000 and 2001. This season, that is our entire game on the road and an improved one at home. Obviously not a ringing endorsement...but improved.

    The ultimate answer is not a radical one.

    Firstly: We need Marco step up and get tough. I mean it. TOUGH. A hard man willing to knock about for the ball. He was like that in 1996-1999. He got soft after the injuries. I'm not sure if Rongen coached it out of him, but we need midfielders who think "Get Ball" first, "Pass and Move Quickly" second, and "Make a Really Cute Move with a Pretty Pass" a very distant third. It's all in the fundamentals. He has ample ability, but all his coaches since 1999 apparently have over-emphasized "fluff and pastry" (as Bruce calls it) over grit and efficiency. Skill is secondary at any level. Grit is first.

    Secondly: We need to Dump Richie Williams and McKinley and their salaries for a Really Hard, Strong, Fast, and Aggressive D-Mid. There is where we might need to go abroad. These players (outside of Mastroeni) don't exist in MLS at this point. Possibly, I would consider a trade to KC for McKeown. A short-term alternative is to attempt to convert Reyes. However, this guy has a national team Lock at Right back in Honduras...I imagine that he does not want to stray from Defense into the incredibly crowded midfield in the Honduran pool for the long term.

    Thirdly: We need a forward who has at least a nominal air game. We will be impotent as long as we exclusively play on the ground. MLS has evolved well enough that the entire game played to the feet is not enough to break down even the worst defenses. Therefore, Lassiter and Curtis should be dumped. Washington would be OK. Buddle might turn out to be fantastic. But I believe that we should look abroad for this as well. Maybe Ray already is...perhaps the Belgian from the tryout early in the year. If no new players can be acquired short-term, we must pray that Jaime is available. If not, I like Olsen up top.

    Fourth: Obviously, Eddie, Jaime, and Benny must earn their keep. But not just in time on field...but effort. We know that Ben will give it all, but I certainly don't feel confident that Ed and Jaime will go all out for the team at this point. Therefore, a 70% effort from these guys will not cut it.

    Fifth: Nelsen and Prideaux need to play. They are doing phenomenally well in defense this year, game in, game out. Neither of them should be moved off the pitch for any reason other than injury. It may seem obvious, but there is a sincere chemistry developing that is shutting people down effectively with minimal grit in front of them.

    Sadly, not all of this can happen this year. The best we can hope for is luck with injuries and the putrid refs. Next season, I'm confident that Ray will see a way to axe several of the problem players: Richie, McKinley, Curtis, and Lassiter. I just wish that it would have been sooner. Notice that Alavanja was not brought up...he is an obvious waiver or trade. Hopefully we get something for him.

  16. Lanky134

    Lanky134 New Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    134, 3, 6
    Agreed, Tim, except the part about McKeon being an answer. He's slower than Aunger, and doesn't distribute as well.

    The point about Marco's lack of grit is well-noted. Has anybody noted the complete lack of set pieces near the area lately? I don't think we had one against NE, even though we dominated possession and their defense is weak. This is because Marco isn't running into the box with the ball and forcing defenders to foul him. Whether it's for fear of injury or lack of effort I don't know.

  17. JAnderson14

    JAnderson14 New Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Crofton, MD
    I agree with every single word of this.

    He doesn't have to play defensive midfield on both teams.


    sormun- I only have one thing to ask: Cienfuegos?! If you hate our midfield now, what good would it do to bring in an old, short, slow guy who isn't even delivering the goods any more? He's not even doing well with Ruiz in front of him.
  18. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

  19. sormun

    sormun New Member

    Jul 13, 1999
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

    Please,read my note one more time!! I did say I would search all avenues,all american leagues to find american talented players.I also said, those players selected need a permanent camp for training and evaluation. I suggested the assistant coach to be in charge with developing american players.Statistically,one coach can find talented players in any players population, american people are no exception.

    I have suggested eastern europeans midfielders because of the salary cap situation in the US,that's all.

    You are wrong by saying I do not have respect for american players. I do not have to much respect for the american coaches,especially those from MLS.That's why I was suggesting foreign midfielders that have good professional training....

    About the US performance in the WC: I did enjoyed seeing the US team playing modern soccer.I was in Europe durring the WC.I believe the majority of the US national team are currently playing in Europe.
    About the results, I don't think the US team outplayed the europeans teams.My recollection is that the US beat Portugal (I believe you remember the game) and lost to Poland and Germany,the combine score was the USA 4 - Europe 6 not exactly " a great deal of succes" !?!.....
  20. DCUnited401

    DCUnited401 New Member

    Jul 4, 2002
    germantown, md
    Re: Re: Re: Thanks Boys

    what three cups????? the champions cup? kc is has no chance of advancing now. mls cup? dc will make the play-offs. and what's the third? you shouldn't be saying anything about dc, at least we never got 6 goals scored on us in 33 min. just wait till saturday... there is no way kc will win.
  21. Lowecifer

    Lowecifer Member+

    Jan 11, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks Boys

    US Open Cup

    In fairness to wizardscharter (god, why?) he posted before Morelia introduced Team Dorothy to a Tenochtitlan-sized can of whoop-ass.
  22. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Well actually more of the team played/plays in MLS than in Europe. It's about half and half, but slightly over half play in MLS. Of the guys in Europe, several of them used to play in MLS as well, so it's fair to characterize the US WC'02 team as predominantly MLS trained.

    US players used to be inferior, but now they're closing the gap on countries like Mexico in terms of player development, and the US is rising quickly. We're still not producing nearly the number of talented players as the Dutch, English, Italians etc., but the quality of our players has improved dramatically since the inception of MLS. There is a direct corellation.

    Back to the topic ... ;)

    I read today that Hudson has decided to use Reyes as a man-marker predominantly to take out one specific player on the opposition team. He did it masterfully against Ralston when United played New England. This role is essentially a dedicated-marking Libero/Dmid. It appears that Hudson wants to lock up midfielders with Reyes and leave the forwards to our compact back line. If this is correct (partially speculation on my part), then it sounds like Reyes will be roving the midfield against the likes of Preki, Nowak, Mathis, etc. All of whom slide into and out of the forward line from their attacking midfield positions.

    I approve of this wholeheartedly! It takes advantage of Reyes' defensive skills well, and most of the time keeps him in the center of the pitch contesting things like a Dmid or Hmid would. Once we win possession, he can help move the ball upfield quickly through midfield so that our forwards don't always have to deal with stacked defenses. That was the main objective I had when I started this thread. :D

  23. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

    With all due respect sormun, the USA played exceptionally well against the European teams with the lone exception being the Poland match, and even in that match, the game was mostly played in Poland's half of the field thanks to Poland's bunker tactics after going 2-0 up inside of 5 minutes..

    As for the Portugal match, the USA played perhaps one of their best all around matches in team history.. Portugal scored on an own goal from Agoos and a rebound of a missed clearance from O'Brien.. Other than that, name one dangerous chance Portugal had for the entire match..

    As for the Germany game, the USA were the better team on the day, they just didn't win on the scoreboard.. When noted World Class players like Ballack, Kahn and especially Beckenbauer state that the Germans were lucky to win, that says something, and in a WC quarterfinal no less...

    I'm suprised that a guy like you who disects every touch of United's midfield would fall prey to spouting statistics like "USA 4 - Europe 6"....
  24. sormun

    sormun New Member

    Jul 13, 1999
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed Lineup

    I know,I know you are right!! But, I found the expression " a great deal of succes " a little bit off...
    Generally,I agree with your assessment of the games.The USA was an unknown team for them.I remember the total disbelief of the portugeese defense at the begining of the first game.From now on every body knows the USA, let's see if they will repeat the " great deal of succes" next time around.
  25. sormun

    sormun New Member

    Jul 13, 1999

    I was thinking about his general level of playing, in his career.Also, I choose him as a proof that I do not discriminate against short people if, they fit the profile.

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