It was the form of aim the place the thought of every participant got here to life.
Maxi Moralez orchestrating within the center. Anton Tinnerholm making a lung-busting overlap run on the correct. Jesus Medina ending off the play after a sensible run into the field.
Medina’s aim was NYCFC at its slick, attacking greatest and set the tone for a commanding 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union final weekend.
Across the Hudson River earlier within the day, the Red Bulls gained by the identical scoreline, in no small half due to new ahead Fabio’s great hold-up play.
These weren’t simply wins, however ones with clear blueprints to replicate.
No, NYCFC gained’t play towards 10 males each recreation (Philly’s Jose Martinez was despatched off simply 16 minutes in), and Caden Clark gained’t rating each volley he makes an attempt. But each New York squads have been deserved victors final weekend, and have clear plans of motion shifting ahead.
Starting with NYCFC (Saturday vs. Orlando City), which has now recorded clear sheets in consecutive video games, and have allowed the second-lowest xG (2.0) within the league to opponents. The pattern measurement remains to be small, however I’m assured we will financial institution on this protection being, at worst, above-average.
That brings us to the offense, and Ronny Deila’s attention-grabbing setup final weekend. The staff nominally arrange in a 3-5-2, however basically performed six midfielders when in possession. Moralez was consistently dropping deep, and with the Union pinned again virtually the complete recreation, wingbacks Tinnerholm and Gudmundur Thórarinsson stayed excessive and huge.
I don’t count on Deila to use this method each recreation, but it surely supplied a great instance of a lineup that matches round its personnel, and never the opposite means round.
Tinnerholm, the membership’s (joint) third-highest scorer final season from protection, was allowed to concentrate on getting ahead, and Medina had freedom within the center as an alternative of hugging the touchline. Even James Sands, normally a holding midfielder these days, benefitted from shifting again to protection and getting a bit more room on the ball. He persistently broke Philly’s strains along with his passing.
Throw in some extra correct ending from Taty Castellanos (and the eventual return of Heber), and this staff might look a complete lot like 2019’s squad, which led the East in total factors and objectives.
It was just one recreation (towards a staff with a Champions League match in its sights), however NYCFC battered one of many league’s stronger opponents. Deila ought to be aware of how he did it.
Gerhard Struber, in the meantime, moved away from a again three to his favored diamond formation, ultimately carrying down the Fire within the second half.
Fullbacks Kyle Duncan and Andrew Gutman have been each focal factors — registering essentially the most and third-most attacking third touches on the staff respectively, per FBRef— whereas each New York (Saturday vs. Toronto FC) objectives got here from sensible runs by midfielders Clark and Cristian Casseres Jr. Neither of those factors — enjoying with width and using delayed runs into the field — will come as revelations to Struber, however they are going to be key methods for New York going ahead. Better but, there’s motive to be cautiously optimistic that they have the personnel to make it work typically sufficient.
Furthermore, if final weekend is any indication, the scoring success of the staff’s midfielders can be largely aided by Fabio. The Brazilian gained, held and provided the ball for Cásseres Jr.’s opener earlier than nodding down softly for Clark’s karate-esque volley. Keeping the ball is much more vital whenever you’re not a very high-possession staff, and Fabio performed that focus on man position completely vs. Chicago.
Beyond particular person play, nevertheless, New York can be pretty reliant on Struber’s administration of this retooled roster if it’s to make the playoffs. Early indicators present a coach prepared to be proactive if nothing else.
The Austrian has made subs by the fifty fifth minute in each recreation, and has additionally made at the least 4 adjustments in every contest. For somebody nonetheless studying his gamers and the league, it’s a constructive signal he’s prepared to admit his errors thus far.
Struber could not have the precise recipe for his diamond but, however he’s clearly prepared to tinker till he does.