Monday, March 12, 2018

Layer Cake

With the usual 4-3-3 back line done, now we're going to add a new tier to the Clipboard by filling out a 3-5-2 depth chart. Despite what the formation promises, the wingbacks will be included with the central defenders in one post.

As our pool is sometimes split by having either the European-based guys unavailable on non-FIFA dates or MLS dudes caught up with important games, I'm trying to keep a balanced stable at hand for each station - may as well make the best development use of what otherwise might be an annoyance for a team prepping to play a tourney.

Let's work right to left...


DeAndre Yedlin
Eric Lichaj
Matt Polster

Jake Nerwinski

The top two spots basically pick themselves, but don't be shocked if Polster proves to be more effective than Lichaj when given license to shed some defensive responsibility. 


We're going to chart this one a little differently. Instead of ranking across the three places in the heart of defense, let's establish a sort of "hockey lines" hierarchy. If someone from the top line goes missing, the corresponding player can jump in without much of a hitch. Again, moving right to left:

Erik Palmer-Brown
Matt Miazga
John Anthony Brooks

Ike Opara
Cameron Carter-Vickers
Justen Glad

Extra pieces: Tim Parker, Tim Ream

Everyone pretty well falls into place to make two lines here, even if Palmer-Brown has more experience on the left side of defense. That shouldn't be too much of a concern. Since there's only two MLS guys in the top six, Parker is around to fill out a line-up card when the ex-pats are busy with day jobs.


Timothy Chandler
Gregory Garza
Antonee Robinson

Jorge Villafaña
Ben Sweat

And here it finally is... if there was ever a time to give Chandler another shot to become a USMNT regular, this is it. He's playing this exact position very well in the Bundesliga, and it can never hurt to keep his defensive duties lighter. Garza should be the epitome of solid in this role, while Robinson is definitely one to watch. Sweat has also become an intriguing prospect.


Tomorrow, we go revert to the 4-3-3 system to start the run through midfield.

- Greg Seltzer


Cathal said...

Is EPB really a better option over CCV, who's been holding it down at RCB at Ipswich? (Acronym city!) Think we need to see EPB prove more, get more run in Europe before making him first-choice in this formation.

Greg Seltzer said...

I thought long and hard about who should fill out the "first line" with Miazga and Brooks. In the end, I opted to keep CCV as a middle man, and picked EPB as a guy to groom for one of the wider positions.