Dallas 1-1 NYCFC: Tactics Chat

What happens when Plan A stops working?

Sometimes—okay, pretty much all the time—we have tactics nerd fights in The Outfield Slack. But Dome being Dome, just figuring out what formations we’re talking about, let alone how to fix them, can take some work. Here’s how the conversation went down the morning after the second-half collapse at Dallas.


Christopher Jee
did we talk about breaking down why we take so much pressure in the 3-4-3? I thought after recent runs in 4 ATB we might be done with it, but after yesterday I’m curious

There’s no question that our struggles started when Tinny got injured, but I’m curious why – perhaps the requirement for wingbacks to be very aggressive in a 3-4-3

NYCFC Tactics
i think its an unbalanced 3-4-3

mitrita was much more a winger while maxi was floating

Christopher Jee
But we seem to struggle in 3-4-3 generally and the underload in midfield looks like a clear culprit

NYCFC Tactics
tinnerholm allows for more drive on the right side

Christopher Jee
They tried to make Mitri a second striker after halftime

NYCFC Tactics
yup, post injury

Christopher Jee
I wouldn’t rule out some kind of adjustment in Dallas press or just Pomykal being more effective at exploiting the midfield overload

Dummy Run
we can’t just blame the 3-4-3 when we dominated in that shape in the first half

Christopher Jee
Right, at worst it’s bad in certain modes

However the way it fails looked very familiar

Also why I wonder if Dallas adjusted

Dummy Run
dallas adjusted in a big way at halftime, they moved their line up and man marked everywhere

from left to right: nycfc’s distribution with tinnerholm (1-23), without in the first half (23-45+7), and at the start of the second half (45-67)

Christopher Jee
Actually looks decent 23-45+7

Dummy Run
right. losing tinnerholm kept us from getting up the wing but it didn’t break the midfield, dallas’s defensive shift broke the midfield

NYCFC Tactics
so we think a rope-a-dope strat with the heat?

Dummy Run
i definitely think this was part of it

they gave us so much space in the first half and absolutely none in the second, it was wild

NYCFC Tactics
that would be a good question to ask Dome before playoffs

Dummy Run
what question

NYCFC Tactics
how would he react to a team “baiting” him with one shape playstyle in the first half

then pivoting to a different one in the 2nd half

is that solution solved better with substitutions or positional adjustments

Dummy Run
his answer is usually “both”

NYCFC Tactics
i know
but gotta keep asking

Dummy Run
i was surprised we didn’t make more changes yesterday

maybe there just weren’t enough players available

NYCFC Tactics
that wouldve been my guess

he seemed hesitant to bring Shradi on for Tinnerholm

which seemed far more the comp

Christopher Jee
I figured Rocha came on for his tactical flexibility
We shifted personnel around (to disastrous effect, arguably) at some point in the second half. Maybe from the beginning? (Miller to RWB, Ring to CCB, Rocha to midfield)

Shradi wouldn’t have been able to slip into the double pivot as easily
Although I thought Rocha had his worst performance in the center of the park in a long time

It seemed clear to me that we were outmanned in midfield 2 v 3 very often in the second half. Even if we dominated in a 3-4-3 in the first half, I still think a switch to a 4-3-3 in the second half might have solved the problem even with the tired legs

NYCFC Tactics
i would have liked a 4-3-3 in the second half

Dummy Run
at 45′? or after keaton came off? configured how?

Christopher Jee
Shortly after 45″ when it was clear we were undermanned in midfield

NYCFC Tactics
i think id have preferred mata pushing into midfield instead of rocha

and maybe keeping more of a top 3 full out with mitrita, taty and shradi as the trident

and maxi more in midfield with ring

Christopher Jee
Yeah. I mean even when tired, dome always says it’s best to keep the ball to avoid running around a lot

We weren’t set up to do that

I suspect Dome was a lot like Rocha as a player

Left footed, reasonably technical, not very athletic

Kevin Nelson
I feel like the 3-4-3 breaks down when the opponent has wide players running in behind and the wingbacks are concerned about getting beat over the top so they drop further than they should and is a problem if the wingers aren’t tracking back, I think that shape can work if that combination of things doesn’t happen

That shape can work in theory with the players we have but if they’re unaware of their tendency to do that it can break down

Christopher Jee
I would agree, with the addition that it fails when wingbacks don’t have the energy / ability to push those opposition wingers backwards when they have the opportunity

e.g. when we are playing in ridiculous heat

I’ve been lovefesting on Dome but I think this result was on him

Poor Ringy takes the blame but it was only a matter of time before someone made a soulcrushing error when we were taking that much pressure for that long.

NYCFC Tactics
yeah, i agree this one had the smell of institution failure

Christopher Jee
Yeah and another huge factor is what the other team is doing

If it makes sense that 3-4-3 uniquely gives us the capability to play against certain systems, then it should follow that it hamstrings us against other systems

I think

Based on the discussion above it sounds like Dallas made a half time adjustment that we failed to adjust to in turn

NYCFC Tactics
right, but the 3-4-3 with the full talent available is also a 4-3-3

its just i think we got hamstrung by what players were available

Christopher Jee
I mean it morphs easily into a 4-3-3

I think 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 are vastly different based on their various shapes in various phases of play

e.g. in a 3-4-3 your central CB is facing up the field in the build-up. In a 4-3-3 they are facing their own goal in the build-up.

In a 3-4-3 your two wingers are more like inside forwards. In a 4-3-3 they hug the line.

NYCFC Tactics
right, if NYCFC’s best 11 is playing there is little quality difference between 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 in my eyes

Dummy Run
in (one of) (our) 3-4-3(s) our two wingers are more like inside forwards

same with the 4-3-3, it comes in different flavors

Christopher Jee
Yeah I think this also happens in-play based on whatever positional game we are playing in a given part of the field.

I think the way the center CB / CDM is facing between 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 is almost invariant though because it happens in the “first move”

i.e. it’s not super dependent on what the other team is doing.

NYCFC Tactics
it has a lot to do with the static-ness of Mitrita

if maxi plays on the LW/LF spot, the flexibility is even more pronounced

Christopher Jee
Yeah but lack an outlet up front when Maxi plays LW

NYCFC Tactics
not if Heber and Taty are up there

its like a sliding door of a front three or a front two with a roaming number 10

Christopher Jee
At that point it’s kind of the 4-2-2-2 right?

NYCFC Tactics
yeah, but the attacking layer of 2 is asymmetrical depending on where the ball is

Christopher Jee
Mm

I think I know what you mean ❧

Image: Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawing #340

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