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#SEAvCOL: Breaking it down

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We lost again. What’s new?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids’ newest losing streak is up to six games, which means I still don’t get to write about a win. At this point, I hope I get to do a breakdown of a win before 2019, but for now, let’s focus on what went wrong on Saturday.

I normally start with a detailed break down of all the goals, but we are going to switch things up and fly through them today because who needs that pain and hopelessness again?

Seattle goals 1, 3, and 4 (22’, 73’, and 80’)

I’m putting these three goals together because we will notice a trend here:

Beat by a cutback...

Oh look! Another cutback...

A third cutback goal? Now it’s just embarrassing.

All of these goals were totally preventable. On all three, there is nobody coming to cover space. On the first two, players are initially covering the space the ball goes to. On the first goal, Jack Price is covering, and Marlon Hairston has it on the second.

In both goals, the players leave the space. On the first, Price pushes further up, which he probably doesn’t need to do since Kellyn Acosta has the top of the box covered. Nonetheless, he leaves the space, and nobody from the back line steps into it (all three of Kortne Ford, Tommy Smith, or Danny Wilson could have done it). They all stay inside the six and all Raul Ruidiaz has to do it not hit any of them with his shot.

On the second goal, Hairston leaves the space to make the goal line, a smart play. But once he does, Wilson does not come back to mark the guy/space Hairston was in, so Ruidiaz is left open and just has to avoid hitting Hairston from six yards out. Why doesn’t Wilson get back in time? Ball watching. What else is new?

The fourth goal is the one that actually makes me mad. Price is marking Victor Rodriguez, who passes it to Kelvin Leerdam, so Price must follow. Now, no one is left to mark Rodriguez, and he puts the shot into the back of the net.

First, Smith needs to stay home to make sure nobody can score a near-post cross from Leerdam, but when they cutback he should be crashing hard and making himself big. Instead, he freezes and then turns his back. Honestly, that shot might have hit him if he didn’t duck out of the way.

Now, if you want to get really mad look at the second shot of the goal. The person that should be helping Price out by taking on one of the two guys in that situation is the outside back on that side.

So where is he?

Look at the zoomed out replay and you’ll find Deklan Wynne trailing that play. Not only that, but he is jogging back. Jogging. He is the outside defender and he is jogging back on defense when there are unmarked men. If he actually runs, he might have been able to at least put pressure on Rodriguez who has a slightly large first touch, but he never gave them a chance.

Seattle’s second goal (52’)

This one is an easy one really. That is not a PK. Ever. The fact that it didn’t go to VAR is a shame.

At the same time, Howard needs to save that. If you get that much contact on the ball, it cannot go into your goal. Especially when you are a DP goalie. It’s that simple.

Other Thoughts

Today I have just two main points:

What was that coaching?

If you really want to talk in depth on the whole season under Anthony Hudson, head on over to Abbie’s article here. I’m just going to talk about what he did Saturday.

First, what was with the first sub? Don’t get me wrong, we needed it because starting Giles Barnes and Enzo Martinez up top is not a good idea (see last week’s article), but 16 minutes into the game? That is not a sign of a good tactical adjustment. That is a sign that he done messed up preparing for this game. If you prepare and have a game plan and starting lineup, you don’t need to make an early change to “fix” things. It isn’t the first time we have seen this year either, so it isn’t just an occasional bad game plan.

Second, why move Martinez to RCM? If you look at Martinez’s heat map per Who Scored, you will see this:

WhoScored.com

That is a heat map of an RCM. So, we kept Acosta (a natural number 8) at attacking mid, and we moved Martinez (a natural number 10) to RCM? Seems like a great plan.

Next, no warning on cutbacks? Seattle scored their first goal on a cutback in the first half (see above), so you would think the team would go over defending cutbacks at halftime, but obviously nothing changed since Seattle scored twice on it in the second half. Okay, maybe he talked about it halftime, but clearly he didn’t preach on it well enough.

Lastly, where is the holdup striker? Everyone knows Barnes is not a holdup player seeing as he isn’t great with his back to goal. Niki Jackson is a stretch-the-line kind of player, so he would work best with a holdup player. You are on the road against a superior team with big physical CBs. That means you need something that can lead to holdup play.

Luckily, we have a million dollar striker on the bench. Would he be good for this? Nobody knows because he has hardly been given a chance, but given the situation and the other personnel, why not give him a shot? Instead of subbing in Johan Blomberg, give Yannick Boli a run out and see if maybe he can help. Or better yet, wouldn’t it be great to have a third sub available in the second half to try something like this?

Overall, it was a poor coaching display on Saturday.

Still missing the center of the field in the offensive third.

Last week, I posted a passing map that had an obvious hole in the middle of the attacking third. I pointed out that the striker is supposed to go there. Honestly, I could do the exact same post this week, but that would be lame. Instead, let’s look at it from another angle.

Here are all our pass attempts in the attacking third:

MLSSoccer.com

If you look at the successful passes, everything is backwards to the outside. That is not going to lead to goals or any real offense.

To take it a step further, look at the crosses. Not only are they all incomplete, none are even close to the end line. That means we didn’t even get the ball down the sideline enough to hit a real cross. We had to settle for early crosses which typically means there are no real numbers in the box since nobody has time to get up there in an early cross.

For the sake of perspective, here is the Sounders’ attacking third map:

MLSSoccer.com

We can see lots of balls actually in the box, forward passes, and square crosses. Oh and by the way, they killed it on Wynne’s side.

This game felt over before it began.

I don’t know if it was only me, but I never felt like we were in that game. The team felt dead and defeated the whole game, and I never believed we were going to actually do anything. As soon as Seattle scored their first goal, it felt like it was over and like there was no way we ever get back in. This isn’t necessarily based on stats or anything, but worth noting that I never really felt any passion from the team.

Any other thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments section! We love when you guys get involved and bring us some discussion down there!