Sunday, December 28, 2014


How the 3-4-3 Formation rejuvenates Liverpool (Ayo Anibaba, 12/27/14, Backpage Football)

Recently, due to injury and a run of bad results, Rodgers has been playing without a recognizable striker in a 3-4-3 formation. I believe that if Brendan Rodgers plays this right, he could turn around Liverpool’s season. This is because the 3-4-3 formation is a counter-attacking formation by nature.

When Liverpool broke with the ball last season, midfielder made penetrative runs into the opposition half, whilst the forwards stretched the back line with their runs, often into the wide areas. With the 3-4-3 formation, Liverpool can easily overload these wide areas and the opposition full-backs and cause confusion amongst centre-backs and full-backs as to who is marking who.

The 3-4-3 also offers pressing. The front three could press the centre-backs whilst the wide men of the midfield four could press the full-backs. If Rodgers wants to do this right however, he needs to select the right players and give players specific roles for the section of the pitch they are playing in.

The front three need to be the most energetic as they defend from the front. Sterling, Coutinho and Borini should make up the front three currently, and Daniel Sturrdige should replace the latter when he returns from injury.

When Sturridge returns, Coutinho and Sterling have to be on either side of him. They are clever players that will be in the space Jonathan Wilson calls, “that awkward pocket of space between the full-back, centre-back and midfielder.”

Sterling and Coutinho should be able to take advantage of this space to their full ability. Liverpool have many options for the wide midfielders, but I personally would go with Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana, as they offer creativity in going forward.

The centre of midfield should be made up of Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva. Lucas will offer reliable defensive cover and Henderson’s energy will be useful in winning the ball back.

The point of Lambert and Balotelli was to break down Chelsea in the second half if you didn't score three in the first.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


GK Bill Hamid Is MLS' Best, Should Be USMNT's Next (JOHN GODFREY, DECEMBER 21, 2014, ASN)

 The 24-year-old Virginia native managed a 1.13 goals-against average despite facing 110 shots, helping Ben Olsen's side overachieve its way to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Hamid is a gifted shot-stopper blessed with agility, size (six-foot-three, 225 pounds) and solid positioning instincts. He also plays a position that tends to favor experience over youth, evidenced by the three 30somethings (Howard, Guzan, Nick Rimando) ahead of him in the U.S. national team pecking order. With Howard on hiatus, however, Hamid becomes the clearcut choice to join the American troika of backstops whenever the national team convenes.

It's also time to clear our Dempsey & Jones.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Eight years after famous miss, New England Revolution's Jay Heaps on the brink of cathartic title (Andrew Wiebe, 12/06/14,

Jay Heaps knows better than most that fate can be cruel. In his case, repeatedly so.

Four times Heaps and the Revolution went to MLS Cup. Four times, New England left with nothing but second-place medal to show for it.

And while each game had it’s own agonizing moments - 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007 - none was more formative for Heaps than the wild 2006 final that included dramatic extra-time time goals from the Revs and the Houston Dynamo and a decisive penalty miss that will live with Longmeadow, Mass., native for life.

#LAvNE | Sunday at 3 ET | ESPN, UniMas and UDN in the US; TSN1, RDS2 in Canada
Now, eight years after Pat Onstad saved his tame effort to give the Dynamo the first of back-to-back titles and almost three years since he left behind a career in finance to pace the sideline, Heaps has a rare opportunity at redemption.

If MLS were better at marketing this storyline would be getting more play than Donovan's final game.