Sometimes a team wins 3-0 and the team looked out of sorts, then can win 1-0 and look dominating for most of the game. Minnesota again came out in a 4-2-3-1, their favored formation for much of the Spring Season. There were a few changes to the starting lineup as Manny Lagos tries to keep everyone fresh for the Fall. Hildebrandt again got the start in goal, while Franks played defensive midfielder against his former team. Omar Daley is the other surprise start, playing left midfielder.
How did the new starters do?
Hildebrandt again had some hair-raising moments, letting a ball by that hit off against the post and had trouble with his clearances and service. Still, he showed his huge upside with a great sliding save in the first half.
Franks was given a very simple job. On offense, slide back between the two centerbacks so that the fullbacks can make runs up the sides and on defense cover any midfielder drifting up the field. Carolina was looking for the counter, so Franks had a lot of opportunity to play the pivot while Minnesota controlled possession for much of the first half. Still, it wasn’t surprising to see Vicentini come on for Franks to help shut down the game at the end.
Daley again showed significant upside and downside. He gave the team a lot of speed along the left side, but had at least two dangerous plays in the first half, either one that could have been carded. Still, he had a couple great breakaways on goal, missing just barely into the side netting in the first half and another one to start the second half that just got away from him.
It was honestly not much of a surprise to see both of those sub out in the second half for the more typical starters Vicentini and Watson.
The team played a 4-2-3-1, with a very high press, with Ramirez and Ibarra pressing the centerbacks. There were times when there would be 8 players in the Carolina half when Carolina had the ball. With such steady defenders in Dias and Calvano, the team is able to push forward and still react well to a counter-attack or if Carolina had been able to break the press.
There is a lot of interplay and interchange among the players. At times Pitchkolan was the furthest Minnesota player forward, who provides and excellent target for a long ball and forces the centerbacks to choose to cover either Pitchkolan or their usual assignment in Ramirez.
In the build up of the attack, Miguel Ibarra would come way back to recieve the ball from the back line. In a way, it’s better for Ibarra to have a position in the middle of the field, with free reign to roam around the field that putting him farther up the field next to Ramirez. Ibarra‘s ball control and speed give the team a great asset to breaking down an opponent’s press.
Once again this game, on attacks the fullbacks were an intergral part of the attack, with the attack switching to a 2-4-3-1, which gave Carolina difficulties in marking all the players. Personally, getting width from the fullbacks is one of my favorite tactics in soccer as it creates imbalances all over the field.
Red Cards. Again.
While it probably wasn’t a deserved red, Minnesota needs to control themselves better on the field. Is there an iron skillet method for controlling emotions?
Swansea Game today at 7 PM
I’ll be up there, with my 8 day old son, standing with the Dark Clouds again. Excited to be behind the goal, it’s my favorite place to watch a game as a fan.
Check out a New Minnesota United FC Blog
Friend of the Relegated, Chris Boyd has a new blog about the Loons at In Loons We Trust. Check it out!