End of season review

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Re: End of season review

Post by Poopdeck Pappy on Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:08 pm

That brings up a question. Have the Pilots always used the 4-4-2 or have they tried other formations to fit their personnel? I've been watching Pilot games for a few years now, and it seems like they've always used the 4-4-2 with attacking and holding midfielders.

Given their team depth next season, it would be interesting (and a BIG surprise) if Garrett went with a different formation.

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Re: End of season review

Post by SoreKnees on Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:47 pm

My memory is fading, but I seem to recall that Christine was sometimes up top by herself in the middle with two fast players on the wings. I'm not sure whether they were technically forwards or midfielders, but they played in an attacking role. Am I remembering this correctly?

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Re: End of season review

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:12 pm

Poopdeck Pappy wrote:That brings up a question. Have the Pilots always used the 4-4-2 or have they tried other formations to fit their personnel? I've been watching Pilot games for a few years now, and it seems like they've always used the 4-4-2 with attacking and holding midfielders.

Given their team depth next season, it would be interesting (and a BIG surprise) if Garrett went with a different formation.

Before 10 or 11 years ago, Clive used a three defender formation. They switched to a four defender formation in perhaps 1997? I do recall that by the time Frenchie finished up her career 99? they had four defenders in the back. She was one of them.
Early in Sinclair's career they experimented a bit with what I think was a 4-3-3, but found better success with the diamond 4-4-2 and stuck with it ever since. The key to using it is how they push people forward, and few teams do it as well as Portland.

You have to think that with the defenders we will have next year it would be tempting to try a 3-4-3, but Garrett probably won't. They just play the 4-4-2 so well.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Auto Pilot on Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:36 pm

"PurplegeezerYou have to think that with the defenders we will have next year it would be tempting to try a 3-4-3, but Garrett probably won't. They just play the 4-4-2 so well."

I agree, it is better to send defenders forward than to try and back track midfielders. The 3-4-3 can end up with the mids doing a lot of running at our goal, which Bill hates to see us do. Also, against a good team like Stanford you need the extra defender. Jessica was busy all night and only was able to get up on the attack a few times.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Harry Redknapp on Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:51 pm

The 4-4-2 that the Pilots play is a great formation; and they have the right people to exploit it expertly next season. Keys for me:

Outside defenders with pace who can join the attack and play like wingers on offense: Jessica and Elli are brilliant for that. And with both of them strong going forward the other team can't overload on either side.

Holding mid who can control the game and "quarterback" everything else: Keelin is almost perfect (I'd love to see her develop a shot from 20 yards because she will get lots of chances next year). In this system the "quarterback" puts up great numbers with handoffs and short passes.

Pace on the outside mids so that you can have 4 forwards on offense but also get 8 people behind the ball quickly: again Michelle E and Kendra fit the bill.

Attacking mid: tough defender, good outside shot, able to read the angles and control the ball in a crowd and thread the needle for others in a tight space: Charney.

Forwards who can hold it up and make use of the flyers from behind: Sophie and, increasingly, Danielle.

The formation with the diamond in midfield is very flexible and it allows the team to look like they have extra players, because of the movement. That's how it looks when the Pilots are firing on all cylinders, they overwhelm the opposition and dominate possession because it seems like they have extra players. One other key is that it works best if the defenders have enough skill to control the ball and retain possession out of defense: that's what buys the time for the forward movement.

That's one of the places that the game broke down against Stanford. Not enough time for our players to get control out of defense so the ball came back quickly and the Pilots never got forward momentum. It takes defenders who can not only win the ball and stop the other team, but do so in a way that allows them to emerge with the ball under control and to play it out to a team mate and not just whack it downfield.

I think that having Elli and Michelle O back there will change that dimension of the game against tough teams.

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:46 pm

Harry Redknapp wrote:
That's one of the places that the game broke down against Stanford. Not enough time for our players to get control out of defense so the ball came back quickly and the Pilots never got forward momentum. It takes defenders who can not only win the ball and stop the other team, but do so in a way that allows them to emerge with the ball under control and to play it out to a team mate and not just whack it downfield.

I think that having Elli and Michelle O back there will change that dimension of the game against tough teams.
Thanks for that explanation, Harry. These kinds of posts really help me understand soccer at a deeper level. Plus, I like talk of improving the team for when we play really tough, elite teams like Stanford. Twisted Evil

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:32 am

Well done, Harry, especially the part about defenders having the confidence to hold the ball and work it up the field, rather than just blasting a long ball forward, usually to the other team. I think that is a combination of lack of confidence in one's skills and being tired, so that it becomes worse as the game progresses. That certainly happened against Stanford. Our possession game didn't look like our Pilots most of the time, especially in the defensive part of the field.

The national team was driving me nuts at the World Cup two summers ago, long ball after long ball, not even trying to possess the ball out of the defensive end. It was better at the Olympics last year, but I think they still do it too much.

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Re: End of season review

Post by fan from afar on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:56 am

I was watching an English Premier League game last night. Both teams generally used short quick passes to get the ball put of their defensive end. It was fun to watch - complete confidence with the ball at their feet, even in or near their own box. They controlled the ball in their back third better than most teams do on the middle third.

There is no reason this can't be done, if you have good players. You are almost always in a numbers-up situation in the defensive third.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Poopdeck Pappy on Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:18 am

The word is "confidence" when you try to control the ball out of the back rather than blast it up the pitch. Confidence might be there in abundance if you're up against a weaker team, but can be no where to be found against an equal or better team who are quick to the ball.

In my playing days, I remember a keeper yelling "Don't pussyfoot around!" when the defender's tried to get to fancy with the ball under pressure. He just wanted them to clear it up the field out of immediate danger.

I wasn't able to see the Stanford game but from what I've heard, it sounds like we may have lost our "confidence" against the Cardinal, especially in the 2nd half.

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Re: End of season review

Post by FANatic on Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:47 pm

Yes, Pappy, I think we lost our confidence in the final 30 or so minutes of the game. We looked pooped, but a great, speedy team will do that to you.

They just took over and pounded the life right out of us. Only Kelsey's brilliance kept us from being humiliated.

It didn't even look like the Pilots to me. It looked like Stanford was the Pilots. It was eerily similiar to the loss to UCLA in the Quarterfinals a year ago. Except last year's team had Steph, Wozzie and a veteran defense.

This year's team, had the Amigas been playing, I am very confident would have beaten Stanford. But I don't want to go down that road with the sour grapes and all.

100% of my Pilots soccer energy is now focused on the 2009 season. (Except for an occasional post like this, of course.)

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Re: End of season review

Post by purple haze on Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:28 pm

Really, there is no shame for a young team to come up one goal short on the road in the final 8. Any list of elite teams still must include the Pilots.

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Re: End of season review

Post by Auto Pilot on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:12 pm

Don't forget also we had two great looks that just missed which could have been game changers pooped or not.

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