Let’s Go All The Way To A 3-5-2

August 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Raf Crowley puts out a rousing defense of the USMNT moving away from the 4-4-2 for future World Cups. While I’m not an expert on tactics (though a bit of a nerd), couldn’t many of the same reasons Crowley pushes for a 4-5-1 be used to go another step forward to a 3-5-2?

(thanks to the BBC)

As Crowley says, we have a plethora of midfielders, especially attacking ones. I’d even say that if we started training our youth in the formation, the US’s famed fitness regimens could crank out quite a few right and left backs, the position that requires the most running, perhaps the most running of any position in any formation.

South American countries have been rocking this for decades now and it works quite well against a 4-4-2 as an overwhelming midfield advantage can keep possession and keep the ball pressing forward. The major drawbacks, at least as I can see them are

  • Do we have enough central defenders to man the back 3. This might be the strongest criticism of the formation.
  • We don’t have the coach or national ethos for such an attacking form. We’re a former British colony after all! Long bombs and chases and counter-attacks are in our blood! Bullshit. We could bring in a coach (mayhaps even the one I’d prefer) to teach our players, and in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re a nation that is vastly more of the Americas than of England. The names of Onyewu, Gomez, Edu, and Torres don’t ring out in the Drones Club.
  • It’s too much of a transition, it’s too aggressive. Yes, counterattacks can be a problem if you play this system. But is there a purer act of faith in the belief that The Best Defense Is A Good Offense? Also, I don’t quite get the dividing line: if we’re looking to transition out of the 4-4-2, is going to a 3-5-2 more drastic than a 4-3-3. All changes are created equals, it appears.

If I’m wildly off, I’d love for someone to correct me, but I don’t see a major reason why we couldn’t go the full distance to a totally new formation and philosophy.


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