Tactical “Breakdowns”: USA v. Turkey

Tuesday is back with some phenomenal vertical imagery of the USA-Turkey affair.

Donovan, pensive on when the US will go vertical in the 2nd half. (..another killer photo courtesy of Matt Mathai)

I agree with his commentary below and add the rhetorical question of: “Bob Bradley wanted his midfield to press high up the pitch, how could the USMNT avoid gaps between the middies and defenders.”

Okay, to Tuesday:

Turkey Day Tactical Reconnaissance

Afternoon all, Tuesday here with more tactical images from Turkey Day – new and improved with color-coding!

As predicted in my previous tactical review, we saw a lot less of the rather static 4-4-2 shape that prevailed against the Czech Rep. once Donovan and Dempsey hit the pitch.

This was especially true during the second half which included some US fireworks. We were not as solid defensively in the first half of this match as we were for the first 44 minutes against the Czech Republic, up until we went in a bit early for halftime, but it’s not a problem that isn’t easily addressed.

To kick things off, here’s a photo from early in Saturday’s match, just after we’d lost possession on the attack and were reorganizing. The US was attacking the near goal in the first half.

US 4-4-2 vs Turkey 4-1-3-2 (All pictures can be enlarged by clicking)

Candyland for adults....

The US (squares) is in a pretty standard 4-4-2 which remained our defensive shape throughout the match. Marked by orange, Altidore (orange, right) tended to be more advanced than Dempsey (orange, left) behind him but they tended to play more as 2 across rather than 1 over 1 which prevented.

Donovan (pink, left) tended to get into more advanced positions, often remaining high up the pitch after we lost possession, with Feilhaber (pink, right) getting back to defend along with Bradley (blue, left) and Clark (blue, right). Our back 4 is quite flat in this photo, as it was throughout the first half, with both Spector and Bocanegra (yellow) dropping off to respect the speed of the Turkish wide players while Goodson and DeMerit (teal) kept a high line.

Turkey (circles) are set up in a 4-1-3-2, with fullbacks (yellow) getting fairly high up the pitch, one holding midfielder (blue), three attacking midfield players (pink) and two forward players (red). One tended to play as a central striker central while the other drifted out into the wide areas, augmented by an attacking midfielder high up the pitch.

Immediately you can see the issue which gave Turkey the upper hand in the first half. Since Dempsey generally didn’t play deep enough to disrupt Turkey’s holding player (blue), Turkey always had three central midfield players against our two.With Clark and Bradley instructed to press high up the pitch, Turkey didn’t dominate the first half, but our midfield tactics caused defensive problems. When the US central midfield looked to pressure Turkey’s midfield, they got sucked too far up the pitch, leaving a Turkish midfielder in space directly in front of our back four. Here’s an example of Clark getting sucked too far upfield.

When Clark Happens – 1st Half: 33:36

Ricardo Clark, undercompensating...

The Turkish right back (teal) is in possession heading back towards his own goal. Feilhaber (yellow) pressures to prevent the turn, with Dempsey (Orange) in support. Bradley (blue-right) is up tight on a Turkish midfield player. Clark (blue, left) is pulled towards the ball, too far up the pitch leaving a large space in front of the back four.

With Bradley pulled out towards the wing and in a fairly advanced position, Clark should retreat and keep shape by getting in a position where he can offer defensive support. A slightly deeper route from Dempsey could prevent the ball to Turkey’s holding player (arrow) but instead Clark is stepping up to get tight, allowing another player to slip by him into dangerous space (large pink rectangle).Good US pressure prevents the switch, but Clark’s positioning causes cascading problems, leaving us exposed at the back.

Emergency Defending: 7 seconds later


Turkey’s wide midfielder (red circle) is driving up the wing having beaten Bradley (blue, right) who is now on the floor. Clark (blue, left) has overcommitted and gotten caught behind the play so DeMerit (teal, right) has had to step out into the midfield to cover.

DeMerit is now with his back to the play trying to get back into position as Feilhaber (pink, right) is chases back and Bocanegra (yellow, right) prevents the most dangerous pass into the space DeMerit was pulled out of.A clever ball around Boca to the striker in the inside channel, could put 3 Turkish attackers into the box against two defenders – Goodson (teal, left) and Spector (yellow, left).

Goodson is caught trying to defend two players but takes up a solid position. All in all the situation was not badly defended given the pressure but would have been far more comfortable with a better understanding between Clark and Bradley. These two make a bad pair because they’re both aggressive with similar instincts on the pitch.You can also see Donovan’s tendency to remain higher up the pitch than the rest of the midfield during the first half as he loosely shadows Turkey’s holding player, walking only about 10 yards diagonally between frames.

At times his positioning created more of a 4-3-3 shape, as in the picture below. I’d like to see more awareness from the other midfielders of when Donovan stays in an advanced position so the wide midfielder can tuck in and the midfield line can shift across so the fullback isn’t as isolated as Spector (yellow) frequently was during the first half.

Donovan’s Position High Up the Pitch

LD10 acting as a forward...

Second Half 4-2-2-2 Shape

The set-up...

To start the second half Bob made 3 good substitutions, taking off the ineffective Feilhaber for Findley (red, right) and pushing Dempsey (pink, left) back into midfield, adding an organizing player in his midfield fulcrum with Torres (blue, left) coming on for Clark and bringing wily vet Cherundolo (teal, furthest right) for a struggling Spector, replacing a more traditional fullback with a quicker wingback. These changes worked well, allowing the US to get into our second, more attacking, 4-2-2-2 shape with the US defending the near goal.

You can see this in possession as Bradley is looking to beat Turkey’s three player press and play the ball out the back. Torres stayed put just in front of the back four to organize and set tempo, allowing Bradley more freedom to roam the pitch in possession. Along with Findley coming deep into midfield to link up play, this allowed the US to deal overcome Turkey’s extra midfield player.

Findley’s threat to get behind and good diagonal runs into wide areas opened space for Donovan and Dempsey to be more influential in the build up while Torres deeper positioning freed Bradley to get vertical to his partner creating more penetrative passing routes.

The greatest benefit of this 4-2-2-2 shape is that it allows the US to do what they do best – get into the final third quickly with medium-length passes to feet and through balls into the channels. And indeed it was Findley coming deep and bringing down a long ball from DeMerit nicely before finding Donovan running beyond him with an exquisite lobbed pass that unlocked the Turkish defense. The second goal was a product of Dempsey’s closer proximity to Donovan in the 4-2-2-2 which allowed our two best attacking players to link up centrally from a throw-in to create a great individual goal while Turkey’s defense was primarily occupied with Altidore and Findley.

Another 4-2-2-2 Shot

2nd half continued...

Bocanegra’s lack of match fitness combined with Dempsey’s narrow positioning eventually tempted Bradley to bring on Bornstein whose overly aggressive approach to 1v1 defending immediately exposed the defense while only marginally adding a forward threat. Bocanegra’s lack of forward runs isn’t a problem as long as Findley makes diagonal runs into the left outside channel that Charlie Davies provided during the Confederations Cup, opening the inside channel for Dempsey to exploit from his narrow position. On the right flank, Donovan (pink, right) tends to provide dynamic width with a run out to the touchline while Cherundolo is a bigger threat to get forward on the overlap.

Defensively, the 4-2-2-2 shape leaves us less vulnerable to the counter than a flat 4-4-2 immediately after we lose possession, since the vertical space on the pitch tends to expand without the back four needing such a high line to maintain good spacing with the midfield. When Bornstein did venture forward, Torres quietly slipped into the left back slot to provide defensive cover and offer support in possession, yet another thing he did well. It was an ironic feature of this match that a midfield player considered to be an attacker (Torres) made us for more defensively solid than one considered primarily a defender (Clark).

Out of possession, Donovan and Dempsey eventually retreat to defend in the classic 4-4-2 shape. Dempsey’s preference for a narrow position can leave us somewhat exposed to a maurauding right back, so the material threat to get behind the defense when that player advances is essential for the system to work. It’s definitely a trade-off worth making, especially if it is made to pay on the counter-attack.

Retreating to 4-4-2 Defensive Phase


Final Thoughts on the Send-off Series

The fluidity with which the US attacked in the second half against Turkey was the first taste in some time of the type of play that made last summer’s Confederation’s Cup team capable of beating anyone. Bob Bradley played it conservatively during qualifying with his cards close to his chest, but he seems to have an approach which could see the US reach a new pinnacle on their second visit to South Africa. The victory against Turkey was actually something new with us hungry to keep possession and breaking down the defense. The goal didn’t come from a lightning counter, but from creating a situation that was like a counter with good running and clever interplay.

It’s no longer an exaggeration to say that only a handful of countries boast better attacking midfield players than Dempsey and Donovan. Michael Bradley is a very good young player if he is simply asked to do what he does best.

The emergence of Holden and Torres on star trajectories, the return from injury of Mo Edu and Beasley’s rediscovery of form have given us tactical options in the midfield that we simply didn’t have last summer. Feilhaber and Clark, two solid players that led last summer’s Confederation’s Cup charge, now provide depth.

While the tragic loss of Charlie Davies to injuries sustained in a car crash made it look like the successful 4-2-2-2 system was no longer a possibility, Robbie Findley’s development seems to have once again provided the key missing piece.

The ability of both Dempsey and Donovan to slide up front adds flexibility while Altidore will benefit from the return to a side that plays to his strength. Buddle and Gomez are different types of dynamic young players that should be able to make solid contributions up front if called upon.

With the strong play of Goodson at centerback, the back line is no thinner than it was during the summer of 2009 despite three key players only just returning from injury. However, Spector is now lacking form and Bornstein is still out of his depth at this level, so our starting wide defenders need to avoid injury and card accumulations. Hopefully, our improved ability to maintain a solid shape and command a fair share of possession means the back line will be under far less pressure this time around.

There is no longer any of the dead weight on Bob Bradley’s bench (Bornstein doesn’t weigh much) that plagued us during 2009. In 2010, Bradley has the players that allow him to change a game with a good substitution so we should expect to see him be more decisive and make them earlier in the match. Hopefully richer resources allowing Bradley to change things when they aren’t going well will bring more consistency. He has developed both a solid 4-4-2 shape and a more attacking 4-2-2-2 shape which should give us just enough tactical variety.

This US team is another improvement on the one that lost to Italy and Brazil twice last summer yet defeated Egypt and Spain. The best part is that the world doesn’t know it yet.

Closing time on the Send-Off Series (courtesy, Matt Mathai)

55 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ETJ on 2010/06/02 at 3:44 PM

    simply wow, this is why I visit this site like three times a day (that, and also because my job blows)


  2. Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/02 at 4:02 PM

    Tuesday REALLY GREAT and excellent analysis and pictures and the second half was indeed better and what one should expect from the US.

    Keep in mind that not only should Turkey been up 3-0 in the first half but Turkey had two very good chances to go up another two in the second half. Turkey played well but they didn’t really have anything to play for.

    I agree that this is a better set up then the team that was up 2-0 in the confed final but they also have lots of holes and where as they might be able to get away with it in the group stage, they need to shore up their midfield/defense if they have any hope of going past the round of 16.

    The flaws/mistakes they make are the same ones that lost them the final, were seen throughout the qualification process and were there against the Dutch, Czech and Turkey. They don’t pressure any attacking player until he gets within shooting range putting lots of pressure on Howard and when they do commit they open up holes that wingers can penetrate (seen several times against Turkey).

    So all told, i agree with what you’re saying but this was one half since almost a year ago since the US have played this well and even then they could have easily been scored against. Basically I can’t wait till June 11th!!!!


    • June 11th should be a good day for England, absolutely brimming with confidence.

      June 12th might not be so nice though.


      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/02 at 4:45 PM

        Its funny how you think they are brimming with confidence…If you read or listen to any of most journalists in the UK, they are wary of the US team. No one is going to be surprised by them anymore due to their exploits of last year. Yes on paper England are the better team and are favored but anything can happen on the field.

        You must admit though that US are GLORIOUSLY inconsistent, ranging from game to game and half to half.

        The one thing that is coming out of the UK press (the smart ones not the rags) is how little confidence the English team is instilling the nation.

        So play the woeful underdog all you want. The smart move for both teams is to also pay attention to the other two teams in the group. I remember last WC when i believe everyone here thought the CR were over the hill and “Ghana who”. 15 minutes into the tournament and the US were out. Either team can lose on June 12th and still qualify.


        • You’re right, the US is gloriously inconsistent. I don’t think we’re really going to surprise anyone anymore, but we can still be underestimated just enough.

          The tone I’m getting from England about their side is “we aren’t playing very well, but Capello can sort it out in the group stages because it shouldn’t be too tough. It’s just the Yanks after all.”

          Having Tactical options with little drop-off in quality to change things when its going poorly is one thing that is required to be a more consistent side. Once they get consistent they will be a legitimate top 10 side.

          The key match for both sides is Slovenia – if we both beat them we’re both through. If we don’t beat England and you guys have some meltdown and lose to Slovenia, I’ll be pissed.


      • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/02 at 4:53 PM

        Tuesday – On a completely random note. What are you shooting with?


        • I have a 5Dii but I doubt they’d let me in with that so I had a Canon G7 and one of the 4-2-2-2 shots was on the iPhone after the battery ran dead…

          Next time I’ll be more professional and bring extra memory cards (maxed out during Czech) and batteries.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/02 at 5:27 PM

          Yeah am always nervous of taking my dSLR into stadiums but for the most part they are fine with it as so many people have them. Oh well…great shots!


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/02 at 4:03 PM


    As much as the first images in this series perhaps call out Rico, it’s worthy to note that Bradley called for high pressure and said he (demanding a lot of his midfield).

    Well I think Bradley asked too much–pressuring and pressuring in an effort to win a turnover and create a “junk” goal.

    This is where Clint Dempsey’s comments about being “comfortable in possession” come in. The Yanks didn’t build the attack in the first half, they threw jump balls like some Madden game only they didn’t have Randy Moss to go against Darelle Revis (spl?).

    Anywho…Bradley pushed up the pitch. Perhaps Maurice Edu takes a different angle from Clark. But the gaps that were created were 1st the strategy than the players.


    • Ha! Look where Bradley ended up in the second one! My point is more that if Bradley is gonna do that the other central midfielder needs to be more conservative instead of doing the same thing.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/02 at 4:59 PM

        The one where he misses the tackle for the 2nd time in the half you mean? That was right below the press box–I saw that happening and I almost said out loud, “Watch, he’s going to get too aggressive, attempt to win the ball and the leave the States caught out.”

        Sure enough.

        He’s extremely impressive in his ability to recover and play physical, but he needs more Mascherano in him–vary his tackles and tactics (and I’m not a Mascherano fan).

        As a fan I appreciate his efforts, I really do, but the bravado is not needed all the time. He needs to be more cerebral.


  4. Posted by brian on 2010/06/02 at 4:06 PM

    Wonderful analysis, top notch. For England does Bob go with an Edu-Bradley combo, and then sub in Torres at half time? I would like to see Torres start, but maybe not in the opener.


    • Posted by cosmosredux on 2010/06/02 at 4:17 PM

      I think Bob feels out the game – see last article – so he’s going two physical speedy defenders in Edu and Bradley.

      All depends on the game – again referring to that last piece – if the US can’t pin back Glen JOhnson and Ashley Cole (The US pinned back the wingfulls for Turkey in the 2nd half with Robbie Findley and Steve Cherundolo running down the right and with Clint slanting in from the left (drawing that defender in) – anyway, if the US can’t pin back Johnson and Cole, Torres can’t do as much of hi work.

      Anyway, Bob exerts caution to start and then goes offense, perhaps.


  5. Posted by Matt B on 2010/06/02 at 4:49 PM

    I don’t really have anything insightful to add, but I just wanted to say I love this article and hope to see more of this type of thing in the coming weeks.


  6. Posted by Doyle Redland on 2010/06/02 at 5:14 PM

    The only thing that I noticed flawed in this analysis was that he blamed the first goal solely on Clark, but Clark had to cover the holding Turkish player. If Dempsey had taken the deeper route to the ball, then Clark would have been able to hang back a bit. Other than that, this was a spectacular article.


    • As I said above, I wasn’t trying to call out Clark as much as point out that the midfield pairing needs to work better together with one covering for the other’s aggressive pressing.

      We’re defending zonally, not marking man-to-man so there’s no rule Clark has to go with the guy and get pulled out of shape. Bradley has already been pulled out of shape and is probably too tight on the player he’s marking without any real benefit since he’s not in any position to prevent him from receiving the ball. He could still prevent him from turning without being so tight, and also be able to help Clark deal with the other 2 central midfield players since Turkey had 3 v 2 in that area of the pitch during the first half.

      With both of them pressing so high up the pitch, it also meant we had to play a high line in the back four which left us vulnerable to Turkey on the counter. We could certainly have conceded more than the one goal. Bob has to fix this since these aggressive pressing tactics since they’re not conducive to keeping it tight in the first half against a counterattacking team with speed on the wings.


  7. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/02 at 5:44 PM

    Thinking about the preferred 4-2-2-2 and the role Findley played: dropping back into midfield to pressure, yet still a threat to get behind with speed sounds like more running than Clint will do. I, for one, am ready to see Clint be a midfielder in SA. Course I don’t have enough soccer IQ to know what formations our opponents will play, or if 4-2-2-2 is the best matchup. I can say I did thoroughly enjoy that second half from the USA.

    These write ups are great. Note: the graphic designer in me wants each entire team to be 1 color, and the positions to be defined by shape (forward = triangle, mid = circle/oval, defender = square). Would make it easier to see the team positioning and passing lanes. Cheers!


  8. Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/02 at 7:54 PM

    I felt like with Bradley and Rico, they were playing a 4-2-2-2, and with Torres, they were playing more of a 4-1-2-1-2. I think some of the pictures a bit misleading… specifically the first picture (it looks obvious to me that the first picture is a 4-2-2-2. Also the 5th picture looks like an out of position 4-1-2-1-2. Just some quick notes, but other than that I agree with everything.


    • I see what you’re referring to but that’s pretty normal in a 4-4-2 in possession in the final third. In this part of the pitch a 4-4-2 looks more like a 2-4-4 with the fullbacks in line with the DMs and the Wide Mids almost in line with the strikers. This is just the way the moving parts tend to work in a 4-4-2 with the wide players shifting up and down a line – either one flank at a time (Turkey’s approach) or both in tandem (our approach) depending on the tactics.

      For me the difference between 4-4-2 and 4-2-2-2 is that the attacking players form something resembling a box with the attacking midfielders more vertical to the defensive midfielders beyond the 45 degree angle of shifting up a line. 4-1-2-1-2 means a midfield diamond and while Bradley was pushing up further into midfield than Torres, his starting position was always at the base of midfield, not in the hole behind the strikers.

      Here’s another good view of the 4-2-2-2 with Findley making that diagonal run into the outside left channel and Torres playing him the ball. Dempsey is actually inside both Findley and and Torres as this ball is played.


  9. Excellent analysis, Tuesday. Don’t have time at the moment to go over it carefully, but it’s going to make my morning meetings MUCH more enjoyable!


  10. Posted by CJ on 2010/06/02 at 8:49 PM

    When Clark happens… So, I just watched youtube highlights of the England/US match from ’08. I was interested to see our line up vs theirs ( the team they had then is relatively the same, no?) as well as things contributing to goals. Also it was Cappello vs Bradley @ Wembley (advantage: Bob, with time to study tape plus neutral playing ground). My thoughts on England’s goals… The 1st set piece goal, happens. Beckham service to a dirrrrty header to the corner, well done (regardless of blown assignments and all that, it’s gonna happen verse that caliber of service). On the Gerrard goal however I have a huge problem, the link up of passes starts to bedazzle the US defensively and you can see after the right-to-left reverse 5 of our guys try to interfere before England launch off, the snowflake to break the branch? Clark caught pressing too much leaving a flat back 4 vulnerable to a diagonal speed run. Ouch. 2 years and it hasn’t changed. Bench him. It better be Edu starting.


    • Posted by CJ on 2010/06/02 at 8:52 PM

      P.S. Tuesday… I love them imagery and breakdowns!! The addition of your submissions complements and enhances the content of this site. Well done.

      Matthew@TSG Great job!! Keep up the expansion!! (I saw the ads, it’s about time (lol) you got a reason to go Full-Time here. Make money, money, make money, moneyyyy!!!


  11. Posted by Anthony on 2010/06/02 at 9:35 PM

    I am not so sure he will be used, but I’m glad Beasely is there. But, if Donovan really is going to play the right side against Ashley Cole, who the heck can really step up on the left-side besides Beasely?


    • Posted by King on 2010/06/03 at 4:29 AM

      Agreed. IMO, Beas has to start to keep Glen Johnson honest, plus he has the speed to recover to help Boca at LB.

      Dolo – Demerit – Gooch – Boca

      Bradley – Torres/Edu

      Donovan Beasley

      Dempsey Jozy


  12. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/02 at 11:28 PM

    Tues have you ever thought of taking up managing a pro football club? Or at least being the tactics coach. This is world class analysis/breakdown right here.


  13. Posted by Gino on 2010/06/03 at 12:06 AM

    It’s articles like these that made me a TSG disciple. They also make me regret not playing soccer (the organized sport) longer. Maybe then I could recognize subtleties of the game the way TSG’s contributers do. Anyway, keep up the great work guys!


    • Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2010/06/03 at 8:04 AM

      Gino: “It’s articles like these that made me a TSG disciple. They also make me regret not playing soccer (the organized sport) longer. Maybe then I could recognize subtleties of the game the way TSG’s contributers do. ”



  14. Posted by KMac on 2010/06/03 at 2:07 AM

    One of the best pieces I’ve read this cycle in any media. Excellent work. Love the “Zonal Marking” approach to illustrate the “Chalkboard”. Our graphic artist friend made a nice upgrade suggestion with labels(or perhaps even letters) to more quickly see who is who in the shape.
    Again, wow, super work.


  15. Posted by Andy on 2010/06/03 at 5:21 AM

    Absolutely incredible. Thanks for the analysis!

    This is precisely the kind of thing that ESPN should be doing (job prospect for you!), but instead they keep throwing out these guys that pretend like all that matters is “playing with heart” or “passion” or some other form of “trying harder.” Thanks again. I can’t wait to obsessively hit refresh on TSG from June 11-July 11.


  16. Really, really nice work–a great look at the various shapes the US took on, particularly in the second half. I took a slightly different approach, looking more at some of the defensive breakdowns, if you’re remotely interested: http://starsandgripes.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/turkey-defensive-troubles.

    Keep it up.


  17. Thanks for the compliments everyone. I’m very pleased that you’re enjoying my work. I know it may not be for everyone but I’m not trying to get “inside baseball” to exclude anyone. I’m just trying to reveal the inner richness of this simple game we all love so much so hopefully everyone (including me) understands it a little better. I hope this helps us see that the managers job of predicting exactly how things will shape up on the pitch in advance is a heck of a lot harder than analyzing what happened after the fact.

    I love this stuff but don’t want to pretend I’m some expert whose opinions are beyond question. Please fire away if you happen to disagree! That’s part of what makes TSG great. Thanks!


  18. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/03 at 7:33 AM

    I liked the way you explained the ‘why’ rather than just explaining ‘what’ happened. I also appreciated the fact that you commented of the downstream affects when a single player was caught out of position, and that you illustrated how interdependent any system is on orgnisation. And the photography made it very clear.

    Watching on TV where the camera follows the ball makes it hard to (pardon the pun) look at the bigger picture, where the game is often fought.

    Being at the game, how seamless was the transition between the offensive 4-2-2-2 and defensive 4-4-2? What were your observations? My point is that one of England’s main threat is width, and obviously the 4-2-2-2 would leave a lot of green in the wide areas.

    Once again, great job Tuesday!


    • Thanks George. The transition was really quite seamless. Dempsey stays more central and Donovan providing dynamic width on the right. Both get wider as we’re pushed back into our defensive third and we defend in our typical 4-4-2 shape.

      I’d be careful what you wish for because Donovan was frequently in a good position to deal with the forward runs of the fullback. On the other side, Dempsey’s narrow position will invite Johnson to bomb forward at times with Findley ready to exploit the space he vacated. Both Jozy and Findley also frequently came short with Donovan running beyond them. Ferdinand and Terry could very well struggle with this type of movement and interchanging of positions.

      BTW – did you see the pic of Howard signing a Howard outfield Jersey in my Czech piece? I put that in there just for you.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/03 at 12:13 PM

        Both Terry and Ferdinand are pretty good at reading the game, and Terry’s positional sense is generally spot on. But I do worry about him getting turned by a speedy player.

        No, I didn’t. I’ll take a peek.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/03 at 12:23 PM

        Nice – I had to think about that one for a moment, but you’re referring to my comment I made on the jersey column…


  19. Here’s a link to one last photo that didn’t make it into the post, where the US evolves into a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Dempsey dropping deeper, Donovan and Feilhaber pushing on from wide midfield:

    4-2-3-1 shape

    Just goes to show how fluid these things actually are on the pitch.


  20. Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/06/03 at 8:19 AM

    Wow! I’ll trade you a Lalas, Harkes, Klinsmann and Dellacama…whatever his name and a bag of swedish fish for Tuesday’s analysis above at half time on Sat and beyond.
    We don’t need to know what happened when YOU played for the USMNT or how you FEEL during the national anthem. Just good old fashioned looking at what’s in front of you and commenting, with integrity, on what it reveals. Fantastic.
    Bravo and looking forward to more.


  21. I absolutely loved this post, just like the last one. I’m at a point now where I can understand these tactical deployments, and it’s the first time I really realized how organized the players are at this level, and how they each respond to the position of a teammate. I am wondering whether there really is a market for this kind of analysis in the World Cup. I know ESPN does it with football (Ron Jaworski is the best, IMO) and basketball (where TNT’s Kenny Smith is excellent), but is the vast majority of the soccer public far enough along where they can understand the tactics? At any rate, I think there’s room for a segment like this in the halftime and post-game analysis, so I really hope that ESPN makes it happen.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/03 at 3:10 PM

      LOL. I doubt it. I think first we need to start an education campaign for the camera crews…


    • Posted by nick s on 2010/06/10 at 11:35 AM

      There’s a market for proper chalkboard/replay analysis, but there’s also a market for 12 minutes of commercials at half-time, followed by 10 minutes of commercials after the final whistle.

      It requires people in studio who can say to the production team, while the match is in progress, “I want you to clip that last attack” or “I want you to clip whenever X is moving forward on the ball in that part of the pitch” and have those packages assembled in time to discuss them. You won’t necessarily get MotD-style post-match breakdowns for live broadcasts, but if ESPN is really committed this year to taking it up a notch from Euro 2008, then you’ll see it from the outset in a willingness to bracket matches with tactics and formations in detail. Given the talent they’ve hired for both the booth and the studio, it’ll be a pity if Klinsmann, Gullit et al. are just asked to show up and offer platitudes when they’re clearly capable of doing proper half-time analysis.

      (The camera team in SA will be up to scratch, and ESPN will probably take the international broadcast feed, with some freedom to pick different angles and replays.)


  22. […] Sweatpants (to Howard, Bocanegra, Donovan, and a snoring Altidore): Turkey’s wide midfielder (red circle) is driving up the wing having beaten Bradley (blue, right) who is now on the […]


  23. […] • The Shin Guardian posts some amazing analysis, but it sometimes takes some digging to find the real strategic jems. […]


  24. […] The Shin Guardian posts some amazing analysis, but it sometimes takes some digging to find the real strategic jems. […]


  25. […] a nod to a great article that analyses the USA’s tactics in greater detail than this piece shall, at the Shin Guardian. It […]


  26. […] you’re like us at TSG, looking at X’s and O’s on a graphic or looking at Tuesday’s photos from Turkey, tell a much better story of what’s […]


  27. […] The Last Time At The Linc: Tactical “Breakdowns”: USA vs. Turkey […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers

%d bloggers like this: