Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thoughts on Sporting V Montreal (7-27-13)

Last week, I watched as Montreal took on Chicago at home and beat them with some nice counter-attacking that ended in several goals for Felipe. They were patient. They waited for an opportunity to pounce, and in the end the made some clever well thought-out passes through the defense and slotted away a decently easy opportunity.

Such was the case once again as Montreal outlasted Sporting for 95 minutes, took advantage of sloppy midfield play, and then combined some nice semi-counter attacking with a great through ball that put a Montreal player 1v1 with the keeper who was beat by a smart finish.

Let's cross off the usual complaint:
1) It was the refs fault. Nope. Ref had a decent game, handled KC's fouling styles pretty well and booked Uri for persistent fouling. No problems here, a couple missed calls but so what.

Who can we place the blame on for the loss?
1) Lack of creative attacking ideas. If you read my last post, and paid attention to the ways Sporting decided to spend their attacking turns, you are pretty disappointed. Lots of square balls around the box, lots of crosses to no one, and way too many times, people standing around waiting for someone else to make that run resulting in nasty end results to possible attacks.

When Sporting did try to play through the middle, they tried lots of quick one two passes that were just NOT working tonight.

2) Mid-field possession problems. Although it's hard to pin-point any momment in time that defined a game, I'm going to do it. Late in stoppage time the mid-field team of Sporting made SEVERAL easy passes right to the feet of Montreal players, which almost directly (ie they got the ball and then were able to pressure and score rather than Sporting getting a chance) resulted in the goal.

Sloppy midfield play and bad link-up play between the midfield team doomed Sporting.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Watching Soccer

For a long time, I feel like I've been stuck in a rut when it comes to how I watch soccer. For probably the past year, I've kind of lost track of how good or bad a team is. This came to a head as I watched Sporting play and tried to understand why I didn't think they were doing very good despite being near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.Where they really bad at attacking, or was I just watching it wrong? In a game that has 90 minutes full of incidents, how can I judge better what I'm watching? How do I stop it from being one big muddle of men running around on the pitch and kicking a ball different places. Who is making an outstanding impact on the game? What phases of the game are teams working best in?

To try and understand the ebs and flows of what I'm watching. I've started to break down the different parts of the field and watch specific battles and the decisions that are made that result in changes.

I simply broke the field down into thirds and watched specific things in each segment of the field. Keeping tracking of these different battles and stages has helped me quantify a game and judge who really has the best decision making skills.

When either team bring the ball into the final 3rd of the field, I watch to see what they do with their attack. What decisions are they going to make with their attacking possesion? When a team gains control and cycles the ball around or makes an attacking thrust they may have the ball for 15 secounds to a minute or two maximum (usually). What is the final out coming of their decision making progress?

Each team gets between 20 – 50 different attacks during a game. Since most attacks do not result in a goal, decision making matters. Think of two weeks ago when Seattle played Vancouver. The Whitecaps far fewer attacks, but the decisions they made when they had their turn on attack trumped Seattles many attacks.

If a team moves the ball all the way up and then cycles it all the way back to midfield or farther I still think of that as one attacking move / judgement of their decision making skills.

When the ball is in the middle of the field, I don't count any small movement forward as an attack. It's the time when the midfielders get to battle it out and we see who can win the dirty battles in the middle.

So in summary, I realize this is pretty simple but it's helped me.

  1. Cut the field into thirds
  2. Judge teams based on the outcomes of their attacks and their decision making skills when they attack in the final third (purposeful movements and good ideas or 3 minutes of possesion that results in a cross to no-one?)
  3. Watch the midfield battles and enjoy. Give teams mini points for winning battles.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Find Advantage Played at Du Nord

Hey Advantage Played fans, Bruce from Du Nord has invited me to be a regular contributor to Du Nord.

You can find something new and fresh from me regularly over at

See you soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pictures from the Wizards' Stadium Construction

Over our wonderful labor day weekend that was filled with getting drunk, playing paintball, watching soccer, playing disc golf, and hanging out with friends in a church that's been converted to a bar, I headed over to the Legends area of Kansas City to buy a new pair of Copa Mondial shoes.

Of course, I soon found out that no one carries size 14 soccer shoes, but the trip wasn't a total waste. I took a long walk around the Wizards construction site taking photographs while standing on cement barriers.

Since I'm taking a graduate class on digital archiving, I decided to practice the skill a little and below you will find a map of the stadium I have overlayed with a diagram of the construction area and field and a marker for each place I took a picture.

Click on the photo icon to see the view from each spot. I also marked out where the Wizards webcam hangs from a lightpole.

View Wizards' Stadium Construction 5-31-10 in a larger map

I'd recommend opening the map in a new window for best results.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


MLS' answer to Match of the Day, except 5 minutes long instead of 60:

Red Bull Stadium from Above

As seen on the The Offside and on YouTube and Finally, from the Air Above.

Next time, how would you react if your team went down three goals in 6 minutes?