Tactical Analysis: USMNT versus Azerbaijan

A win is a win, and 2-0 is a decent win, but the USMNT did not look all that good against Azerbaijan.  Azerbaijan packed the box, at times playing with 11 men behind the ball.  The US resorted to a number of long balls, which got caught in the swirling wind at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.  However, Mix Diskerud came on in the second half and got the scoring going with some great work in the box and then Aron Johannson finished them off with a header off a corner.

Overall Impressions

The team looked like they were playing at times to avoid injury.  Which makes sense, with only 15 days until the start of the World Cup.  At the same time, it left the game last night looking sluggish and slow.  The team was unable to break down the defense of Azerbaijan during the normal run of play, with both goals coming from set pieces.

Formations and Reflections

The US again played a 4-4-2, with the midfield in a diamond formation.  However, unlike against MexicoBradley was unable to put his stamp on the midfield.  Some of that was due to long balls that bypassed the midfield, some of that was Azerbaijan focusing on Bradley, but with the formation the US is playing, it will be vital that Bradley has a good game, both on the ball and making runs.

The fullbacks did a fantastic job pressing forward, and both sides made good runs into the box.  There were some scary moments defending though, and the back line will need to firm up their defense before the next game.

Wondo and Johansson looked great on set pieces, but the two forwards seemed to struggle to find space and get good looks on goal during the run of play.  Altidore still needs a goal or two during the World Cup warm up.

The way the US lines up and plays is much more attack-minded than in years past.  This should make for much more entertaining soccer, but it will be interesting to see if the US will be able to hold their own against Portugal and Germany playing such an attack minded formation.

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About Bill MK

A writer, an avid consumer of soccer, music, media, books and games, a poorly self-taught handy man, a nom de plume.
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