Despite the recent two poor results in a goalless draw at home against FC Cincinnati and a 2-1 loss on the road to Inter Miami last weekend, it is clear that Gonzalo Pineda’s Atlanta United are beginning to create more chances with more consistency as the team stabilizes their system. tactical.
With Brazilian superstar Luiz Araujo regaining his fitness in recent weeks and looking ready to finally return to the starting line-up this weekend against Montreal, how does he fit into the tactical system that Gonzalo Pineda has developed in recent weeks?
First, we’ll take a look at the way the team has been playing in attack lately. Then we’ll find out how Araujo can work alongside Marcelino Moreno and Thiago Almada. It’s not always easier to have an MLS coach working in three close attacking midfielders who all want to be on the ball in and around the penalty area.
While we often refer to Pineda’s recent formations as 4-2-3-1 (or some variation) due to the fact that a team plays with traditional center backs and a single striker, the team attacks with the back. Review some of the main features:
Here is what the match against Inter Miami looked like last weekend:
It is not clear where Araujo fits this format. We know his favorite position comes inside with his favorite left-footed from the right, but Atlanta’s “winger” last several games has been right-back Brooks Lennon, and Lennon’s role is to embrace the right side. This is not the role Araujo will play. Ideally, you’d still want Lennon to take on the same responsibility he did earlier, and it could be more effective if he interferes with a dangerous player like Araujo.
Just by looking at the XI mentioned above, it seems clear that Caleb Wiley will be the player out for the side. So the question is how Pineda can get this employee to work.
You can start seeing the problem here. If you remove Wiley, who fills in Willie’s responsibility to keep the show on the left side? We know Marcelino Moreno is not a good fit for the role, and you don’t want a player like him – or Thiago Almada for that matter – to break away from the movement areas in and around the penalty area.
Pineda has the perfect player in this team that allows for an elegant solution to this problem in the form of Santiago Sosa. Sosa is ideally equipped to step back deeper into the rear triple when needed to give the team its preferred building structure.
You see, the lone midfielder has to be excellent. It is essential that this player does not lose the ball cheaply, and tactically the player needs a great spatial awareness to recognize the ideal positions he should take and make himself an enforcer. A healthy Emerson Hyndman may be a player who can do the job. Matthews Rossetto is another interesting option, but will he be willing/able to run the ball and find a forward pass?
All this will actually be more flexible than it appears in these schemes. Players move around the field based on their best intuition, and things rarely go as cleanly as they might seem here. This may not be how Pineda decides to move the team at all! But hopefully this post will start a discussion of how Moreno, Almada and Araujo can play together while maintaining the positive aspects of Atlanta United’s latest stage this weekend and beyond.
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