US v Nigeria // analysis of defensive formation

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  1. 1. -- how the 4-3-2-1 functioned vs. Nigeria -- roles / responsibilities of the outside of the “3” -- vulnerabilities -- strictness (or lack) of formation
  2. 2. Pretty much a textbook xmas tree formation
  3. 3. They seemed to have a tactical objective to create a vacant square in front of the CBs The outside “3” on the ball side (Bedoya) pressured the ball, while the opposite outside “3” (Jones) would form the top of square level w/Beckerman BEDOYA JONES The opposite side FB plays vary narrow, seeming to invite switch
  4. 4. -- the reason I am convinced we played xmas tree is the related movement of the outside “3”s
  5. 5. 24:41 -- Ball on Jones's side, he is active in pressure / marking. Bedoya pinches in to complete the vacant square JONES BEDOYA BECKERMAN
  6. 6. 24:58 -- field is switched. Bedoya assumes a pressure / marking role; Beckerman slides across flat; Jones completes the square The top of the xmas tree is ready to collapse and pressure balls played into this area. We generated several turnovers this way BEDOYA BECKERMAN JONES
  7. 7. 25:09 --- ball is switched again. Jones applies individual pressure; Beckerman slides across; Bedoya shifts to complete the square There was interchanging at the top of the xmas tree BECKERMAN BEDOYA JONES
  8. 8. -- an instance of not establishing the “vacant square” in front of back four
  9. 9. Jones is a little late getting back based on ordinary game flow (I don't recall the specific circumstance here); Bedoya pressuring ball
  10. 10. Jones does get back, but Bradley occupied so doesn't pressure ball. Lots of players walking (both teams) but player making run behind MB
  11. 11. Jones feels obliged to pressure vertically near circle; ball is played to the side he is supposed to pressure wide; square broken; runner comes in under Beckerman JONES BECKERMAN
  12. 12. Nigeria not pressing hard (they never attacked our corners)and ball played back, but now Beckerman marking (getting to goal-side shoulder) and has to follow runner; Jones still not back to square (but Bedoya getting to his corner) JONES BEDOYA
  13. 13. Beckerman pulled out; Jones too high; Bradley too far from ball to apply direct pressure. Note also how narrow far-side FB is (Fab-J) JONES
  14. 14. Nigeria able to play short thru ball into space; forces multiple defenders to collapse
  15. 15. Leads eventually to pretty harmless shot but potential was there for more damaging attack
  16. 16. -- JK's comments about how formation doesn't matter -- how this xmas tree transitions in attack
  17. 17. From slow build-up out of our third/half, MB receives deep and they attack as a 3-5-2. Bedoya stayed very high and wide when we had sustained possession. On the left, Beasley is advance of Jones. But on the right, Bedoya is advance of Johnson
  18. 18. Here's the 3 from the 3-5-2....
  19. 19. But when play developed differently, they sometimes attacked like the 4-4-2 diamond with Bradley at the top (in this particular moment, he is ahead of the “2”) The fullbacks providing width as would be expected in skinny diamond DEMPSEY JOZY
  20. 20. -- another example of the “vacant square” being broken
  21. 21. I don't recall the specific circumstances but here a runner has gotten behind the front line of the square. Also MB gets pulled too far wide pressuring the ball BECKERMAN
  22. 22. Ball gets centered; Jones + MB out of position; Beckerman breaks to pressure ball and now the Nigeria player in the square is unmarked -- Beasley + Besler both man-marking. Again, very narrow BECKERMAN
  23. 23. However, ball is played wide the other way. Jones has to hustle to close up his corner of the square
  24. 24. well done -- he gets there. Again, so narrow on the opposite side
  25. 25. Nigeria notices imbalance. Switch play; one wide attacker unmarked Besler marking this guy
  26. 26. Fortunately for US, Nigeria very casual. However multiple defenders need to switch off their marks
  27. 27. Ball is eventually laid back for shot from on-running midfielder. Not especially threatening but could have been if under pressure from a more energized or skilled opponent Nigeria not really committing numbers to attack
  28. 28. -- an example of recovering defensive shape after a breakdown breakdown. Indicates level to which this “system” is understood . This one as a result of Jones getting clipped on the ankle and staying down without the official stopping play
  29. 29. Jones is down upfield after a break so positioning very fractured. CBs too close, Beckerman too deep, nobody to form corners of square Jozy tracking back as he did multiple times (in this game and in other send-offs) BECKERMAN
  30. 30. MB with aggressive pressure as usual. Beckerman trying to get in position. CBs not getting pulled out of line by stepping forward to mark. Seems very intentional that they not get out of square
  31. 31. But Beckerman has to man-mark, Jones is still down. Jozy got back but trying to pressure ball. Square open... BECKERMAN
  32. 32. But again lack of urgency from Nigeria has ball wide. Bedoya back to pressure ball that side, Jozy takes Jones's corner of the square... Beasley totally isolated with much bigger striker on far post. Nigeria never served in anything.... JOZY BEDOYA
  33. 33. ...and in fact Jozy cuts across to tackle away an entry pass. See how CBs remain totally flat back there at all costs. Even leaving Beasley to mark that much taller striker while being so narrow.
  34. 34. -- one more instance of a defensive breakdown -- I think in this case we had just countered on Nigeria but a pass was cut out and they brought it back against the grain with many of our players out of position
  35. 35. Ball on far side; CBs not on same line; Beasley marking tall striker; Beckerman totally playing zone (has back to runner) JONES
  36. 36. Beckerman now has to man-mark as ball played back. Jones + both CBs way too close together. Defense incredibly narrow as usual. There is no “square” to be found Jozy tracking back once again JONES
  37. 37. Jozy pressuring ball now Jones not being at his corner of the square means Beasley now has two players to be accountable for. Plus still one free winger JONES
  38. 38. Because there was no top to the square, Jones could not stop the wide pass, nor the thru pass that player makes towards goal. Beasley frozen due to wide run One of the few times where both our CBs were man-marking. To my eyes it seems this scheme is to ensure there is always one defender free to clean up the mess
  39. 39. Fortunately Besler sees this run all the way and tackles ball away for corner. Both he and Howard complain to ref about no offside call but honestly he looked on to me
  40. 40. Summary / Notes -- Nigeria didn't put a whole lot into their attacking play. Perhaps flattered the defensive shape, Beckerman's ability to contribute -- MB is key to everything -- Jones had a great match -- Jozy did a lot of little things besides the brace -- there were 5-7 flicked-on headers in attack that I have not seen much of under JK. New wrinkle perhaps? The triangle at top of xmas tree works well for that -- Beasley very positionally sound, but this opponent did not seem very invested in attacking the corners/wide
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