Saturday, June 7, 2014

Now thats more like it.

But hey, what do I know?

- Greg Seltzer


Jolazo said...

Can't believe it worked so well. Jones on the left side of the diamond was a brilliant move. Easily his best game for the USMNT. Putting Beckerman in worked to perfection. He had some loose passes and got exposed for pace once, but Jones was there to save the day. Bradley was amazing as well.

Beasley grabbed that LB job.

Curious as to what to do at RM. Ale seems perfect for it because he interchanges and covers for Fabian so well. Fantastic interplay to set up Jozy's first goal. Zusi was great when he came on too. Set up a ton of chances. I'm comfortable with either of them.

Pragmatic Idealist said...


One analyst on MLS soccer-
"Coach Jurgen Klinsmann left his shiny new diamond midfield in the jewel box for this one, bringing back a formation that featured three central park rangers"

"Committed to the diamond"

Good to know that we have a handle on these things now...

Unknown said...

Guess that just goes to show that formations don't matter, eh?

I am so going to get banned

Greg Seltzer said...

Guys, last time I checked I am not responsible for what others see or say. Feel free to post a diagram of what you think the formation looked like, but I saw three central midfielders

Unknown said...

Absolutely. One behind two others.

Greg Seltzer said...


heythisisrobbie said...

A 4-2-1-2-1. I'm pretty sure that there is a diamond in there somewhere, but last night was defined by the three guys in the center of the field.

Personally I have my doubts about Beckerman's athletic ability in this group, but I guess we will see. I think I would have preferred Edu, but don't write that in stone.

I'm also thinking that playing Germany last will have more than its obvious benefit. Jones will be much more under control games 1 and 2. There is no way he will want to miss that one.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

Greg, I don't post here often. I don't have a strong opinion on the formation, because what I saw was somewhere in between the 4-2-3-1 you called and the asymmetric diamond that Matt Doyle saw. To me, this actually underlines JK's point that what you call the formation doesn't matter so much as whether the players understand their roles and cover for each other. Either way, I thought the first 84 minutes went pretty well yesterday.

It makes me nervous that Gonzalez got scorched and that Besler felt like he had to make that desperation tackle at the end of the game (if that's how he reacts in a situation like that, what's he going to do when it's Gyan or Ronaldo or Muller?) But that's not down to formation.

By the way, where is Chandler on that play?

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Exactly my point

Tom said...

Watched on the fan cam, checked the opta stats that I could find, and they reinforced my impression of Beckerman as a DM behind Jones and Bradley as B2B middies each 1/3 of the way in from the touchline.

Worked out nicely.

Weirdly, it didn't *feel* to me like we were outpossessed by that much. But it did seem like our passing was not as on as lately.

Tom said...

Tactical cam, rather

Chevis Ryder said...

I'm not saying anything that no one has said before when I say that I HATE Bradley and Jones together as the sole CMs - I'm probably reading too much into it, but it has always seemed like Jones tries to prove that he's as good, if not better than Bradley.

That said, I LOVE the center being Bradley, Jones & Beckerman. Jones and Bradley are no longer trying to do the same thing, Bradley can concentrate more on creating while Beckerman and Jones are able to cover for each other. The US defense - and I don't mean the backline - the team defense was easily the best that it's been since Herr Scheinheilige took over, and that was easily JJ's best game as a Nat.

I've seen a few people say how bad FJ was, but another thing that having two DMs on the does is that it allows the fullbacks to get forward without leaving what they left behind too exposed. I'd be remiss if I didn't add, imagine how good they'd look with Donovan on the right instead of Bedoya. ;)

Tom said...

I thought FJ was fine, too.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

What I think is missed is that Bedoya was a B2B with heavy defensive duties. The reason you put Bedoya on the field over Zusi is for Bedoya's work rate and defense.

You can call what they did several things.

Dempsey Bradly Bedoya
Jones Beckerman

Except the three AM didn't interchange. Jozy and Dempsey did more like in a 442. Bedoya then had full range defensive duties down the line. Dempsey and Jozy did not.

Or you can call it
Dempsey Jozy
Jones Bedoya

Jones was largely on the left and largerly high positioned than Beckerman. But when Beckerman slid to the right, then Jones slid Center. But guess what? When Beckerman slide left, Bedoya slid center.

So it also could be looked at as

Dempsey Jozy
Jones Beckerman Bedoya

The point being is that the number system is too crude to capture all the assigned roles and how they worked together. Pick any of them and I won't argue too much.

Its about how they work together, whether you call it a

I don't really care. I think this got the best out of everyone. This is the best the team has looked together yet.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

But if I had to choose a number system- I would say it was the closest to a diamond with both Jones and Bedoya higher up than Beckerman and the ability to go B2B. They both pressed much higher and wider and Beckerman stayed fairly central.

Greg Seltzer said...

Bedoya was wide right, dude, check the heat map. And the top three did switch around a lot, though it mostly Deuce and Altidore roaming more than Bedoya.

Greg Seltzer said...

Plus, Jones and Bradley were essentially level in the formation, with Beckerman behind them. If necessary, one of the two dropped back to help him.

Tom said...

Hey Greg, do you have a link to something with a heat map?

Greg Seltzer said...

Not a public link, no. But if you click the boxscore tab on the MLSS report you can find an actions map - which is obviously a decent replacement for the true heat map.

dikranovich said...

Tom, I sure hope coach klinsmann has access to the same private site which Greg is getting his heat map source from, don't you?


Greg Seltzer said...


Tom said...

Yeah, I used the actions map as a proxy for my comment at 0943 above. Thanks.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

This is closer to what I saw- but Jones and Bedoya where slightly more raised with Bradley up front which gave it that diamond feel

But really it's about roles - then you can really see re team shirt from system to system depending on the play

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Pragmatic Idealist said...

It's really pretty cool. In that 4321 - all it takes is for Bradley to shift center and Dempsey shoot up into the fwrd position and it becomes a diamond.

But if jones is told to stay more withdrawn and not move up as a B2b but bedoya shoots up the wing then it starts looking like a 4231

It's all petty fluid and based on those roles

Pretty cool and advanced tactics by Klinsi

Greg Seltzer said...

Hmm. Guys, Bedoya was about level with Deuce and above Bradley, who was level with Jones. It is all right there on the actions map.

You could take 30 snapshots during a game and call it a different formation, but mere player movement out of the clipboard space does not a new formation make.

@CatholicKanji said...

Idealist, remember when people were calling out klinsmann for a lack of tactical nous?

This has been a terrific, exciting, and engaging world cup cycle. We are becoming a team that "tries s#!t" in the pursuit of our next level of play.

Love Dempsey as the team Captain.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

I don't know what you're looking at but the players described it as beckerman back, bedoya and jones level and Bradley slightly forward. That's from the player lips and what I and my family saw when watching.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

There is Bedoya calling it a 4321

Greg Seltzer said...

Fair enough, but either way it was surely no diamond. Sometimes their tendencies and the way play rolls makes it hard to pinpoint. It sure looked like it was operating with a three-man midfield and not five squished together. Jones and Bradley were not crowded rushing up the gut and Bedoya repeatedly extended the field wide right.

Unknown said...

I had a great time at the game and was really looking forward to playing the "well I know better cause I was there" card, but there's not really anything to debate. The biggest mistake last night was the Florida DOT not getting the memo of a 50k crowd leaving Jacksonville, and closing down I-95 to one lane leaving the state.

It was a very complete performance and Jozy's second strike was a thing of beauty, as was the long ball from Bradley that reached him.

Zach said...

Hey Greg, I took a screenshot from the game from the ESPN tactical cam, would love to send it your way. In essence: it was a diamond midfield. I didn't think so at first either, but Bradley played directly in front of Beckerman, jones and Bedoya mirrored each other left and right.

Greg Seltzer said...

Heh. Not only is that not even a diamond, but the players are saying it was a 4321 Xmas tree. Nevertheless, it played like a 4231, the heat and action maps clearly show Beckerman behind the level pair of Bradley and Jones, with Bedoya/Deuce/Jozy running higher.

Whatever it was, it proved that formations do matter. A lot.

dwc414141 said...

I was at the match and have to say that it was difficult to put the organization into one lineup. The midfielders and Dempsey (whether you call him a forward or a MF) were all over the place.
A few midfield tendencies that were very evident:
1. Bedoya definitely spent most of his time wide right. The others tended to migrate toward the center much of the time.
2. Beckermann was by far the most defensively-postioned of the midfielders. There were occasions were one could say it was a 5 man defense. Beckermann was the deepest field player more than once as the "true" defenders drifted forward.
3. Jones played with an amazing amount of energy. He was everywhere and that may have been his most complete B2B-style performance for the National Team. Though his passing accuracy seemed to be lacking a bit. However, it seemed like several players were struggling to complete passes, perhaps as a result of not quite knowing where everyone was going to be.

Unknown said...

@Greg - "Whatever it was, it proved that formations do matter. A lot."

I'm having trouble connecting the dots from "it was even hard to nail down a specific formation they were in" to "formations matter a lot." Could you elaborate?

Greg Seltzer said...

I do not see the connection you are making. The previous two games, they ran a diamond, which has obvious issues against lesser opponents. Then, they revert to a set closer to their norm and have a nice game against another World Cup team. Pretty straight-forward, no?

And I will tell you what is overdone with formation talk: the idea that running a formation means a team stays in that exact shape for all 90 minutes. The movement of the play bends and stretches shapes. Just because players move shape with the play or flatten as they defend does not mean that they totally switch formations. A formation is structure, but it is not meant to be rigidly limiting.

The team says it was an Xmas tree? Fine. Whatever the base structure, it was clearly more suited to the team than a diamond, which it clearly was not. Often, it is a lot worse to have the wrong formation than it is good to have the exact right one. For the USMNT, right now, they need three guys in central midfield and extra numbers into attack.

Greg Seltzer said...

had* obvious issues....

Pragmatic Idealist said...

It's never really been that formations don't matter. Its just that focusing on one system is too simple.

This is what I saw as well. It was more like 4321 in defensive shape and then transitioned into the diamond in the attack. In then at times could look like a few other systems.

But this was a very defensive look at the diamond... creating that 4321 - it wasn't a pure christmas tree as both Jones and Bedoya played pretty B2B when we had possession.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

"And I will tell you what is overdone with formation talk: the idea that running a formation means a team stays in that exact shape for all 90 minutes. The movement of the play bends and stretches shapes"

You are exactly right but where I think your thinking needs to evolve a bit is that shifting can allow for different myriad of systems to take place if you have sophisticated and intelligent players.

Greg Seltzer said...

"This is what I saw as well. It was more like 4321 in defensive shape and then transitioned into the diamond in the attack. In then at times could look like a few other systems.

But this was a very defensive look at the diamond... creating that 4321 - it wasn't a pure christmas tree as both Jones and Bedoya played pretty B2B when we had possession."

First of all, all formations flatten when you get pushed back to the box for the simple reason that there is less room available. It is the difference between positioning 10 men over 50-60 yards and positioning 10 men inside about 20-25.

Secondly, you are fully correct about Jones and Bradley equally moving ahead of Beckerman... which is known as a TRIANGLE. Not a diamond. You are way overthinking this. Every formation is built to alter shape for a number of reasons, that does not mean it is a different formation.

"You are exactly right but where I think your thinking needs to evolve a bit is that shifting can allow for different myriad of systems to take place if you have sophisticated and intelligent players."

I have long been praised and slammed alike for having a Dutch soccer brain, which then naturally colors my analysis and preferences orange. The last thing I need is more understanding about use of shape, space and player shifts. Dude, I was raised on all this. And I have not shut up about it since.

A diamond is a clear shape; it is not a 4312 and a diamond at the same time. It is certainly not a 4321 and a diamond at the same time. A diamond requires four points, not a straight line with one stray, not this or that. I know the diamond very well, in fact I wrote many columns way back when that the Nats should use at WC 2002. I have even used it on FIFA games countless times. And I have yet to see any person identify the fourth midfield point in that game. Ya know why? Because there was not one.

The players say it was a 4321. Okay, fine. For me it did not operate or space like one, but who am I to argue anymore? I just know it was not a diamond.

Greg Seltzer said...

I mean they clearly ran a diamond in the two previous games, we can all agree. Now, did the Nigeria set and play look anything at all like those two games? I sure did not think so either time I watched the game. If no one else had mentioned it, such a thought never would have crossed my mind that it was ever the same set from the first two Send-Off games.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Argue with Jesse Marsch, who said what I have been saying.

In their own half, it didn't just flatten out. I am talking about a combination of roles and their relation to one another - not necessarily shape. The shape is the result of those roles.

In their own half, Beckerman had a traditional 6 role. Jones and Bedoya had similar 6 roles as in a 432- they guarded the passing lanes and then pressed on their side. Bradley was positioned further up and either Jozy or Dempsey joined him. Pretty much looking like a 4321.

Then when they attacked, Dempsey's role became much more of a forward- joining Jozy up top. In all the scoring opporunities, you'll see Dempsey playing the role of a second striker.

Bradley moved more centrally- with the ball going through him. Bedoya and Jones both got into the attack- with beckerman holding that 6 role.

If you have two attacking forwards, a forward positioned central midfielder, two box to box midfielders, and a more disciplined #6- what does that look like? It looks more like a diamond.

I am not saying they played purely anything but I do think the roles that they were given created something that looked like a 4321 on D and 41212 when in possession.

And that makes perfect sense with this team. It allowed both Bedoya and Jones to get into the attack. it allowed fullbacks to overlap and it kept defensive integrity with a traditional 6 in place.

That is what I saw and what Jesse Marsch just described. It also fits a coach's way of thinking. A 4321 in that way is really just a bit more defensive diamond.. as the two B2B mids are positioned just a bit more withdrawn in defensive positions and roles that required heavy pressing on their sides.

Tom said...

" I am talking about a combination of roles and their relation to one another - not necessarily shape. The shape is the result of those roles."

Well yeah, and so was he, I think. As was I. As is everyone talking about that stuff--they're intimately related, and discounting one is just willfully not listening to your interlocutor, which I don't believe Greg was doing--at all!

Unknown said...

I'm just trying to imagine what Ghana is thinking right now, trying to prepare for the yanks.

Greg Seltzer said...

I saw that Jesse was on Extra Time, but I have not had time to listen yet. Been pretty busy today.

Everything flattens out in your own end, there is nowhere for it to go.

From the action/heat maps, Bradley and Jones shared the responsibility of dropping back to the Beckerman line, and that Bradley did not do business above Jones - they were essentially on a level line over the whole night. And Jones was clearly a line below Bedoya, even if the latter does hustle so hard to get back on defense. It is right there on the boxscore page for all to see.

By the same token and from the same maps, Dempsey was clearly a line behind Altidore for the night. He was, however, essentially level with Bedoya. Frankly I cannot even touch the comments and quotes about Bedoya being on the 3 line of the 4321, because that is just crazy talk to me regardless of who it is coming from. Bedoya was the only player on the team behaving like a winger. If he was supposed to be on the defensive midfield line, well gosh, I guess he actually played a lot better than I originally thought.

With Bedoya clearly wide (seriously, I fail to see how anyone can argue he was not wide), Bradley and Jones were spaced exactly like twin central mids in front of a 6. Again, the maps clearly show this for the night. Almost all Bradley did was run the right inner channel and he typically leaned further right the farther up the field he went. He was absolutely not running straight up the middle line, even if that was the drawn up intention.

I mean, the players say it was a formation that is no way, shape or form a diamond or close to a diamond or akin to a diamond. What else do you need to know? Frankly I thought it played like a 433 with a funny hat, but they say it was Xmas tree. I throw my hands up, the players word wins (that is, presuming Klinsi has not had them say confusing things on purpose).


Greg Seltzer said...

Frankly, Justin, I do not think Ghana is particularly focused on what the US formation will be. Even if the coaches are, they generally tend to go about their own business worrying about what they are going to do to you. They will worry about concepts like set pieces and counters, and all things relative to the USMNT, but I highly doubt they will lose one second of sleep worrying about the many lethal ways Klinsmann can line us up. I highly doubt there will be much value in any element of tactical surprise from us.

Greg Seltzer said...

Or who will or will not be the 8th/9th/10th field players in the line-up, for that matter.

Now, if Donovan was around...

Unknown said...

...then they'd attack the slow, aging #10. Gotcha.

Time to play the "at the game" card. I agree with your assessment Greg. It looked like a 4-3-3 to me much of the game. All it takes to turn into a christmas tree is for Jozy to wander ahead of Dempsey and Bedoya.


Call it a 4-3-3, 5-4-1, 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-2-1, but I didn't see a 4-4-2 Diamond, nor a 4-2-3-1.

Greg Seltzer said...

Donovan is slow now! Oi vey. And he is about the same age as Deuce and Jones. And he has more experience than most everyone else combined. And the best vision. And the best technique. And the confidence to want the ball when it matters. And can make literally any play in attack. Etc etc etc.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Doesn't this nail home the idea that the numeric formations concept is archaic?

You were there with a host of formations that you would call it. Greg would call it a 4321 or 433- he originally called it a 4231.

Marsch and Matt Doyle called it diamond on offense and Marsch said 4321 on defense.

Ives is saying 4321 as are the players.

Seems the numeric system is pretty useless. All of the media analysts can't even say if they are seeing the same thing or not.

Unknown said...

I like Donovan, but he disappears if he plays out on the wings. His best two roles are forward and CAM. For just these two roles, who does Donovan replace? Sure, he replaces Wondo. Does he replace Mix? If he did go instead of Wondo, do you see him coming off the bench before AJ? If you do force him to the wing, does he start over Bedoya or Zusi? I don't see a place for him in the starting XI.

I don't want to turn this into another Donovan conversation, and I shouldn't have took the bait. Grrrrr.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ PR:

Huh? I did not call it several things and I did not say it was 4321, I am simply deferring to what the players said. And how am I responsible for what others see or write?

This whole attack on the notion of formations is a total laugh. These things only are said to de-legitimize criticism. And then Klinsi changes the formation for the overtly better. Hilarious.

@ justin:

Disappears on the wings? Where do people get this stuff?

He is not and never has been a suitable forward at the top international level. Almost any serious match and he is out wide, including all his EPL games.

And for me, he absolutely, definitely starts over either Zusi or Bedoya. How this is even in a debate baffles me. I promise you.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

You're not responsible for what anyone else says- I guess I am done with the topic.

Watch Marsch's take and then see what you think. His take lined up with what I have been saying.

If I am wrong, at least I am in good company.. .

Unknown said...

Bedoya's work rate was extremely impressive. It looks like JK values guys who can play box to box, and transition from offence to defense and back quickly.

You have a fair argument that Donovan could start over those two in the attack. Does he get back and defend is well? Maybe so. A telling stat would be looking at the US midfielders and seeing how far each ran doing the last three games, and compare it to what Donovan has been doing in his last few games, both with USMNT and LA.

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, here is the OPTA average position map. I defy anyone to find the diamond midfield in this (oddly enough, I found this photo in an article calling it a variation of a diamond).

Frankly, it looks just like what I thought it played like: a 433 that leaned to the right. Bedoya is higher than Bradley, who is almost level with Jones, with both of them higher than Beckerman. I do not pay attention to what other see, I just follow my own eyes.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

rorschach test

You're talking about average position. I am talking about roles on the team.

They say it better than I ever could.

Unknown said...

Just like taking a snapshot at any given time, average position can be misleading too. Taken literally, that pic shows a 2-5-3. I agree that if we had to fit it into a formation, 4-3-3 would be best, but I also see the point that its not just formation, but responsibilities, how you support your teammates positioning and reacting together vs what the opponent is doing.

Greg Seltzer said...

That link you gave is all wonderful and everything... but it is quite inaccurate. Perhaps because, as it says below the diagram, it is a *potential* line-up.

This whole thing about pushing that it was somehow, someway a diamond is kinda wigging me out. Every real piece of evidence states or demonstrates there was no diamond. I have no idea what else to add at this point.

Greg Seltzer said...

It does not look like a 2-5-3, if only because everyone know no such thing exists. And also because everyone who saw the game understands the context of where DMB and Johnson are on the diagram.

I feel like everyone is overthinking this ever since I was seen as overthinking it. Meanwhile, Klinsi is have a good chuckle because he changed a faulty formation to a better one, got results from it and now everyone forgot about questioning him. Win/win/win.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Seltzer said...

There has to be some sort of confusion here. You all talk like I think formations are unbreakable, strict chains. A plyer moving out of the standard shape is not sign of a formation morph - it is called playing the game. Obviously, roles and responsibilities are woven all together with where their general position and spacing to others is, they all go to a set area once possession turns over one way or the other. And if someone is caught up, they try to cover. If someone picks time to burst forward and add the extra number in attack (like Johnson on the Turkey goal play), they have not suddenly become a forward. if Bedoya hustles back on defense, he did not suddenly make it three DMs.

The average position on the field is where it is for a reason, gents. It is not tricking you or lying to you. Nor am I. And sometimes I wonder if there is even much of a gulf between how we views roles vs. formation.

Until someone calls it a diamond, that is...

Pragmatic Idealist said...

I think we have to completely different ways of assessing the game.

If you had to distinguish roles between the wide winger in a 433 and the right midfielder in a diamond without talking just about positions on the field-
how would you do it?

How are their roles and responsibilities different?

Generally speaking, the way I see it the midfielder in the 41212 is playing more b2b. He is supporting transitions. Is pressing left and fairly deep. HE is covering for the two central midfielders and the right back at times. In attack he is a set up man and delivers cutting passes into playmakers. He is cutting in more and giving the width to the fullback. Defensively, he is mostly cutting out movement and passing toward the center and channeling players wide. Most of these players are valued for work rate, passing, and well rounded ability.

The winger is staying high and wide. Defends down the line. Is pressing the attack line and and giving the team width. Most wingers are valued for speed, crossing, and 1 v 1 ability. You'll see wingers trade spots with the other winger on the opposite side mostly. And will cover the back door on attacks like a third forward.

Which of those did you see him do? and where do you disagree?

He was not pushed up that far defensively. I don't care what stats you are looking at. They defy my eyes and every other analyst but you.

I have seen no one else say this was a 433 wth Bedoya wide. He did not put in crosses from outside the box or take players 1 v 1, or create width for the attack... that was all done by Johnson- like in a diamond midfield. Bedoya played as a 4321 midfielder and then attacked all the way into the box... to me that is much more a diamond... but its not about positional space as it is role.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Again, Greg- every analyst but you have said in the attack it acted as a diamond...

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Average position the field doesn't matter that much. The roles matter much much much more.

Define the roles first. The average position on the field is dictated as much by the flow of the game as anything.

Is that average position on the field, taking into account the changes made the last 20 minutes of the game? Is it taking into account the first 20 minutes when they had a hard time getting possession? How do those type of factors skew those averages? Does the average position on the field take into account that Jones and Beasely were doing a MUCH better job neutralizing threats than Johnson and Bedoya? How is the average position on the field skewed by Johnson's attacking runs that shifts the formation into looking like they have 2 fullbacks.

Averages are just that... and do not necessarily reflect the roles of the players.

Unknown said...

Come on Greg, everyone knows the standard formation in table soccer (foosball) is in fact the 2-5-3. It does exist!

Zach said...

Greg, can we at least agree that Jones defended to the left sideline, where as Bradley stayed central?

Where can we see these illusive heat maps?

Greg Seltzer said...


1 - Averages do not reflect the what now? You guys talk like formations are born from roles, when really it is 50/50. The whole point of using a formation is ***basic*** structure. The touchpoints. The areas of responsibility. A left back is a left back because he covers responsibilities one would have guarding and working out of that area of the field.

2 - Not everyone said it was a diamond. And feel bad for all of us, because the team is claiming it was a Christmas tree. If you can make a midfield diamond somewhere out of a 4321, I would love to see it. That would be a neat trick.

3 - Asking me to distinguish a 433 winger from a 442D right mid without mentioning field position is next to impossible. These formations have designations for a reason. The designation of a set is not some abstract thing. They are shaped these ways for specific reasons.

Simply put, a 433 winger is higher up the field in the base shape than the top of the midfield triangle. The reason you do that is to widen the field in attack. And Bedoya made the #1 key action in the opening goal from a wide position above the (for lack a better designation) #10 player. There is no law that says a winger has to ship a cross or dribble a defender because he is out there. Look at where all of his passes emanated from. Look where, one set piece play aside, all of his defensive actions occurred. Bedoya was wide right enough to breach the area four times over on that side with either a pass or dribble. He had plenty of company, too, because Johnson flew up the wing and Bradley/Altidore leaned right.

Put it all together, you see his positioning and his responsibilities, where he was expected to help defend, where on the field he was supposed to pull the defense, where he was supposed to raid the area.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Zach:

The action map is still up on the game report boxscore. I just posted the average position map with a link a few posts above. The heat map is no longer available on the public website, but I have some cool friends with little tricks.

Jones definitely covered the left half of the field in that manner, but Bradley most certainly did not stay central. He had the right half of the field. He always wanders around a lot, but not counting set pieces, Bradley made five defensive plays out on the right flank and eight on the right half of the field. Yes, he made a handful on the left half, but then Jones made a handful on the right half. That is just how they roll.

It is all right there on the two maps available. The heat map is not saying anything different, as one would imagine.

Tom said...

"The heat map is no longer available on the public website"

Booo! Hiss! I subscribed, MLS has their pound of flesh from me!

J/K I know you'd as soon make it all available.

dikranovich said...

Greg, as to your point number 2 in your 5:33 post, I think that is exactly what Spain did when they went into their 4-6-0 formation, it's no striker and a diamond midfield

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, so name the four points of this Spain diamond. If you want to call a diamond, cool, but by definition there has to be a fourth point you can identify.

dikranovich said...

Well, a triangle is three quarters of a diamond, so when teams play with a triangle midfield, they a close to a diamond.

dikranovich said...

Basically, fabregas is at the head of the diamond, and busquets is at the tail. Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernandez are left and right diamond. David silva is on the right wing looping over and iniesta is on the left wing tucking under. Jodi alba is crushing it on the left flank. What's the big deal with this?

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Greg you are far in the minority about this

Tom said...

P.I., the author of that article declares it an expressionistic diamond, conceding that the shape was anything but.

dikranovich said...

Tom, what are you talking about, the author, devin pleuler, showed opts charts from the Nigeria game showing the diamond.

I say we disregard diamond talk, and call it what it is. These are Calabi triangles the USA team is working with. Coach klinsmann is applying string theory to our national team.

That is pretty freaking cool. I wouldn't be surprised if coach klinsmann has enlisted the help of Michio kaku.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

I've been talking about roles and strategy. Greg has tried to reduce it to shape

dikranovich said...

Greg is still coming to terms with the fact that Fabian Johnson is doing the business at fullback.

Tom #4 said...

I was at the game and after three days, here are my views. Beckerman allowed Jones to do what he does.Quick passing between all mids kept Nigeria on the back foot. When Nigeria penetrated the defense on the outside, the central defenders created a wall leaving no room for runners.Jozy, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones Bedoya and Beckerman are close to being in sync which is why the attacks were so fast. However, while Beasley showedgreat discipline, Timmy Chandler showed a lack of focus and when caught upfield was lacksidasical in getting back. When Chandler entered the game was the only time Nigeria had success on the right. The US looked dangerous all game while Nigeria could not get past the central defense.

dikranovich said...

I'd like to be the first to coin the term "yo yo ball". It's a fitting description of our style. A couple short passes, followed by a crisp thirty yard diagonal dart. It's almost like shooting the moon. I know, they do it in hearts also, but it is a very strong yo, yo move, just like walking the dog. Fabian Johnson is walking the dog up the right flank.

Here and now, USA play the style known as Yo Yo ball, with a little string theory to boot.

Do I even need to explain how we go around the world???

Greg Seltzer said...

A triangle is almost a diamond! Greg reduces it all solely to an issue of shape! This article, which clearly states the diamond shape was not actually in effect, is proof of a diamond!

I will repeat the same request: name the fourth point of this so-called diamond with JJ/Mikey/Dreads. Can anyone do that simple thing? If you can not identify a fourth point, it is time to give up reaching and pretzel-twisting and putting words in my mouth to make it have been a diamond. It is time for acceptance.

Unknown said...

Here's an article that explains the diamond against Nigeria:

The main issue I have with it is that it claims Bedoya was level with Jones, and Bradley played a more forward position. I don't think this was the case at all. People want to see what they want, but Bedoya was ahead of Bradley almost the entire game. They didn't come out in a diamond, and they didn't play in a diamond.

Tom said...

"Tom, what are you talking about, the author, devin pleuler, showed opts charts from the Nigeria game showing the diamond."

The chart for Nigeria shows nothing like a diamond. You can see a triangle with Beckerman at the back, jones and Bradley nearly level.

In fact that chart of average positions shows Dempsey as further up the field than Jozy and Bedoya almost level with Jozy.