The U.S.’s “4-3-3” vs. Colombia, Explained

Major League Soccer’s Yanks-abroad correspondent, Greg Seltzer, has a helpful analysis of the United States’ formation and tactics in Tuesday night’s friendly at PPL Park. Click here to check it out on the MLS site.

Seltzer says that they were playing a 4-3-3—or trying to, anyway—but due to a failure of execution, and personnel options ill-suited to the formation, it devolved into a lone-striker setup—essentially a 4-5-1, as we said.

Seltzer further suggests that with the right U.S. players in the right spots, the Yanks could be very effective in a genuine 4-3-3. “Ideally,” he writes, “one wants a centrally pinned defensive stopper, a two-way midfielder shading one way, and a forward-thinking playmaker set slightly to the other.”

Now, imagine Jermaine Jones in the first role, Landon Donovan in the second, and Benny Feilhaber in the third.

Or Jones in the first, Michael Bradley in the second and Donovan in the third.

We could see combinations like those, with say, Stuart Holden and Clint Dempsey out wide, functioning effectively—and as a proper 4-3-3—for the U.S.

Seltzer goes on to point out how Holden and Shea pinched in too much on Tuesday and what effect that had on the attempt at the formation, along with lots of other tactical-breakdown goodness. Go give it a read.


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