Soccer Positions & Field Tactics

2:0 – The most dangerous score in the game

Your team scores 2 goals and it is 2-0 at halftime.  You have completely dominated the game up to this point and you can’t help but think the win is penciled in.  The coach sits everyone down at halftime and touches on some good characteristics of the half but is very clear in saying that 2-0 is a dangerous score.  “Don’t get comfortable, the game isn’t over”  is what you will usually hear from a coach in this situation, “and don’t let them score a quick goal.”

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How to defend a Corner-Kick

Corner by Espindola
Corner-kicks are one of those dimensions of a soccer game that seem to be over-looked and under-appreciated for whatever reason.  Simply put, they are one of the most effective ways to create a goal scoring opportunity.  Many teams, at various levels of the game, take time to setup a plan as to where players should run and where the ball should be placed.  There are numerous tactics and different approaches to setup a play to score a goal.  But what about defending a corner-kick?

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A Goalie’s Guide to Winning the Lev Yashin Award

“What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future.” – Lev Yashin

So often while watching a game you take for granted the goalie’s importance on the field. He is usually overshadowed by flashier players running up and down the field. The only time he is recognized is when he makes a great save, or alternatively, when he lets one in. A goalie isn’t recognized for everything else he does while everyone else’s focus is on the ball. A great goalie is a general, a chess master, and an acrobatic all wrapped into one. Lev Yashin is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in soccer history. In his entire twenty-two years with Dynamo Moscow, The Black Spider (as he was known as) saved more than 150 penalties. That’s more than any other professional player. It is also the reason the award for best goalkeeper in a World Cup bears his name.

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Tips so you aren’t so predictable on the field

Some teams and players become predictable in how they play, move the ball and options they chose on the field.  Whether you have a scouting report or not try to learn as much about how your opposition plays when the game starts.  I always like to take the first few minutes of the game and watch exactly what the opposition is doing.  Analyze and study then. 

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No Matter What – Stay on your feet

More than ever, you can watch soccer games on tv and see the excessive diving and acting involved in the game.  With slow motion replays and hundreds of camera angles, every instant is caught and replayed over and over.  For the people live at a game, it might not be as apparent as events unravel very quickly and do not allow for much observation to occur.  However, the tv allows people to dissect a situation ten times over.  With the internet, plays can be cut out and made into a video for the whole world to see and process (i.e. YouTube).

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It’s all in the Numbers: Soccer Formations

“Every disadvantage had got its advantage.”

– Johan Cruyff, legendary Dutch player

Ten Players. You have ten teammates (plus a goalkeeper). With those ten people, you can have countless formations when placing players in the attacking third, middle third, and defensive third. So many, in fact, that to list them all and each of their benefits and weaknesses would become an anthology onto itself.  Some are obviously poor choices reserved for unbridled children playing in an impromtu game like sending all ten players to the forward to attack the goal (note: never happens), or on the flip side, keeping all ten players in the backfield (also, never happens). This article will stick with the more common formations you’ll run into on a game-by-game basis.

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Playing with a man down

Once a player is given a red card and sent-off, game tactics change drastically for both teams on the pitch.  Depending on the scoreline and what’s at stake, a few traditional approached are taken to dealing with one less player.

Let’s analyze the team that has just lost a man.  In a traditional 4-4-2, the most common tactical move is to appoint one player as a lone forward, and the remaining players will maintain the same formation.  So, your new look will be a 4-4-1.  Again, depending on the circumstance of the game, a 4-4-1 might be too conservative.  If you are desperate to score a goal and tie the game or win the game, you might want to take away a midfielder rather than a forward.  What this creates is a 4-3-2 formation.  Nonetheless, a 4-4-1 is your best option.

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Lead the Way – Passing in the Defense

There are many components of the game of soccer that are over-looked – much like every aspect of life.  The reason some players are better than others can be attributed to talent and work ethic, but quite a bit can also be attributed to paying attention to all the details of the game; that is what makes a player great.  The difference between good and great is inches; the difference between good and great boils down to the meticulous fine points.

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Defensive Strategies: Dealing with Fast Attackers

It is a problem players and coaches of all levels face and often struggle with – speed.  In soccer, as in many sports, teams have a very difficult time arranging a strategy to deal with pace.  The saying “speed kills” is more often true than not.

When a soccer team is put together, the fastest player is usually put in the forward position.  This does not always hold true, but is a tactic many coaches use.  A quick forward does not necessarily have to be skilled to be effective.  Because there is so much room in an outdoor soccer field, quick forwards have endless opportunities to put their speed to use.  When a forward has speed, his teammates will send him on runs to out-run the defender and score breakaway goals.

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