Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time for a Change?

Two games - both with two early goals.  This is not an indication of bad luck, or a brief mental lapse, or even a superior opponent.  I don't believe it's a talent issue.  This team is not working well together, and doesn't appear to have the right mental approach. 

Espindola hasn't shown much of anything this season.  He works hard, but hasn't produced results.  The few times that he does get clear deep and cross the ball, rarely finds a teammate in position.  Most of the time he loses it as he tries to get by his defender, or he gets off a poor cross.  We need to expect more than effort, we need to expect results.

Findley has such an awful touch, and kills the attack when he gets it on the wing.  El Khalifi hasn't shown anything other than about 1 cross per game.  Our wing play is frankly awful.  Time for a new tactical approach.  If they do stick to the 4-3-3, I'd go with Campos, Yura, and Andy up top, but I think this is a poor fit for our attackers.

Again, we get killed in the midfield as we try to drop the wings into the middle (with little effect).  Holding midfielders and fullbacks get caught too far forward in in-between positions.  We end up being exposed defensively and don't have numbers in the attack.  I'm ready for a 3-5-2.

Here's what I would suggest:

Yura, Campos
Morales, Williams
Beckerman, Johnson
Beltran, Borchers, Olave

Why?  I still think we have some role confusion.  Wings are having to try to contribute too much defensively.  Backs and defensive midfielders are having to decide when to contribute offensively.  I'd like to see 5 players with more attacking freedom, and 5 players with clear defensive responsibility.

Although some may be critical of Mathis I think we need as much playmaking as we can get out on the field, and the combination of Mathis with Morales and Williams would open up the field and create opportunities up top.  I believe that as exciting as the thought of a player like El Khalifi is - Mathis, Morales and Williams can all 3 serve in decent balls for Campos.  They tend to do so from deeper positions as none of the players have the pace to get the ball clear out on the flank very often, but I'm not sure that's as important as making good decisions.  I wish we had a better option there, but we don’t. I'd play Mathis in a withdrawn role and let him make late runs off of Campos and Yura.  But all three interchange well and should have the freedom to roam the field. 

I have no idea if that defensive group (Olave, Beltran, Borchers) could work in a 3-man backline, but I don’t want to see Wingert on the pitch.  Olave has to be there because of his recovery ability and Borchers is the steadying force that never gets too far out of position. 

Yura has shown recently that he needs to be on the pitch.  He is the only forward that can effectively make a move with the ball and get a shot off (Espindola has been disappointing in this regard). 

Campos has shown some crafty footwork, and the ability to knock the ball down into dangerous space, but he disappears for long stretches.  And he tries to do too much with the ball.

It’s not likely that we’ll see a dramatic tactical switch at this point in the season, and maybe there is wisdom in that.  On the other hand, with the playoffs only a pipe dream at this point, what would it hurt?