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What would the Rapids look like in a 5-3-2?

There has been much talk of new Colorado Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson implementing a 5-3-2 formation this season. That’s what he did with the All Whites in New Zealand, and some roster moves imply that Hudson is shaping up the team for that system.

Rapids Rabbi reviewed what the Rapids roster and needs in his Rapids cap-ology part 1 and part 2, and there was much discussion in the comments about who might be playing where, so we thought it might be worth exploring what this formation could look like with the Rapids. Of course, it could change depending on who the Front Office brings in over the next few weeks, but we (and some BW readers) have some ideas of what it might look like.

What’s a 5-3-2 anyway?

Whether you’re new to soccer, or just never really learned about the different formations, you may be wondering what a 5-3-2 is in the first place. Under Pablo Mastroeni and Steve Cooke, we saw the Rapids in two formations: a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1. You start from the back and work your way up to determine the number of players in each area of the field, so a 4-4-2 means 4 defenders, 4 midfielders, and 2 attackers. A 4-2-3-1 means 4 defenders, 2 defensive midfielders, 3 attacking midfielders, and 1 striker up top. Formations can be fluid, so depending on the situation, teams may change their strategy mid-game or to defend a lead at the end of a game.

A 5-3-2 means 5 in the back (3 centerbacks and 2 wingbacks), 3 midfielders, and 2 attackers. The 2 wingers in the back are basically left and right fullbacks in that they are expected to cover the distance of the field and join in on the attack. They also have to get back to defend, so they need to be fast and fit (which is why we’ll likely see Marlon Hairston in this position). This leaves 3 centerbacks to defend. The 3 midfielders are expected to help defend more than in other systems. For example, they may drop back to the corners to cover for the wingers who have pushed up. Things can get very jumbled or out of sorts with the system, which is why Hudson is hammering the point that everyone needs to be fit and everyone needs to know what they’re doing and where they’re supposed to be.

It can also be modified to a 3-5-2, and you can read all about that formation here.


Here are some possible ways that the Rapids could line up in a 5-3-2. This is with the current roster + Edgar Castillo because we’re all basically just waiting for the announcement. I was going to post mine, but Captnmark42 already covered it, so I second his line-up.

Rapids Rabbi:

Eugene Burke:

Eugene Burke



Create your own line-up at or and share it in the comments!