Analysis of Colorado Rapids’ playing style

Robin Fraser is a genius. Colorado Rapids is the American Ajax 

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Robin Fraser wants to build up Amsterdam 2018-19 Ajax season in the US, namely in Colorado Rapids -- at least, it is so similar. We have already the American Tottenham, this is Philadelphia Union with its diamond formation. Another European style will be fit for the MLS and help improve common level there.

Dear reader, before you bury my opinion, let me explain my idea.

The coach tries to line up Ajax’s style in his team; there are two reasons why he wants this: he adores the Ajax or succumbed to the general trend permeated over the world for 10 years 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations. Ajax coach Erik ten Hag changed traditional the Netherlands style 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 and tored up the UEFA Champons League. Ajax used this style through 2018-19 season. I think, it is the first reason because their styles are similar so much. It was a year ago, and Robin Fraser adopted the style for his team. But with some Fraser’s game features. 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formaitons are only numbers, and you can play diffirently, but there are some rules as you have to use this.

A little bit of history

The Spanish 4-2-3-1 formation is the forerunner of 4-3-3 Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka but it is different conception games. The first is more defensive, the second is more attacking. The classical 4-3-3 formation was used by Johan Cruyff’s Ajax and then changed by Pep Guardiola with many triangles. The classical 4-3-3 formation is usually used in the Netherlands, but the most common in the soccer world is the 4-3-3 formation with triangle with top down – is used by Barcelona and Spain national team. The most popular is 4-2-3-1 – was used by Ajax and is used by Germany national team and sometimes Span national team. The 4-2-3-1 formation has two holding midfielders in front of the defence and sometimes with a false 9 and 10, other positions are classical. The 4-3-3 formation has one half back and two midfielders "box to box" and a false 9, but it does not have a false 10 -- these can be rotated. For now, the both formation are the most popular over the world.

Amercian interpretation of Ajax style

Further, I will explain common Ajax and Colorado Rapids’ features on pictures and lines and compare Colorado Rapids’ and Ajax’s players.


Clint Irwin was taken for the team in the winter. He sumptuously sees the field and circulates the ball, he is capable of making an accurate pass. Robin Fraser needed the guy to replace Tim Howard who is playing for Memphis 901 FC now. He perfoms usual keeper’s responsibilities, but the coach can add some work for him as a sweeper or something like that.

Defensive line

This is the most interesting line in Fraser’s style. They have the wide range of responsibilities, it is not traditional defenders – they have special roles in the team. They are used as defenders, half back, midfielders "box to box" and extra forwards.

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Lalas Abubakar and Drew Moor play as center and wing backs, half backs and extra forwards (Moor is oftener). Lalas Abubakar is right center back but often changes of position with central left back Drew Moor and can shift to left or right wing along to help of Sam Vines (left back) to break up enemy attack. At the moment, Keegan Rosenberry, Kellyn Acosta, Jack Price move the defensive area to cover it. Lalas Abubakar is used as a half back (Moor sometimes), at the enemy attack, Abubakar run into the center area or higher (enemy’s side of the field) and bites into a forward to block any conter attack. During a dead ball, Lalas Abubakar, Drew Moor run into the enemy box to create a scoring opportunity for their team. When the team continue the attack and keep the ball after the dead ball, usually Lalas Abubakar returns back to his defensive position and Drew Moor stays as an extra forward to help there.

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Wing defenders are extra central and "box to box" midfilders in the Fraser’s team. During their team’s attack, Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Vines move to central area to take advantage of quantity players with Jack Price and Kellyn Acosta along. If it is necessary, they run into the half spaces to create a passing option and then a scoring opportunity. But they are not usually used as extra wing midfielders.

Colorado Rapids have the ones of the best defenders in the league and no wonder, the coach squeezes out maximum from the area. Lalas Abubakar reminds Matthijs de Ligt from the Ajax, they sumptuously read the game and see the field, are tenacious and selfless. Colorado Rapids’ defenders have more work than Ajax’s. But there are common things in their style. Colorado Rapids and the Ajax and even the Pochettino’s Tottenham and Philadelphia Union (Pochettino’s Tottenham and Philadelphia Union have the same style), during the opposing attacks, they try to take advnantage of quantity players in the middle of the field to move attackers to wings to finish it off finally. During defend time, everyone participate in except for Kei Kamara. Dispite very good defenders there, they have attack style because there are so many guys who can create scoring opportunity from nothing.

Midfield line

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There are more similar things in the teams in the area. Jack Price and Frenkie de Jong have the same work to do. They are both deep-lying playmaker, when they make a pass they travel around the field to create a space for an attack and a passing option. They start almost all attacks for their team. While they are out of the position, Kellyn Acosta (oftener Lalas Abubakar and Drew Moor cover the middle), he tryes to connect the midlfied to attack line, if it is necessary. In the Ajax, Lasse Schone covers it.

Younes Namli is like Donny van de Beek, they are not an atypical false 10 because they try to confuse their opponets their movements around the attack area. Younes Namli often drops deep to collect the ball and gets playmaker responsibilities.

The Colorado Rapid’s midfielders have almost the same work to do. We can see really "total football" in thier perfomance – according to the Cruyff’s or Guardiola’s covenants as you like. The one thing only, Colorado Rapids do not have any triangles in the middle as the Ajax have. But it needs time, because it is not easy to do.

Attacking line

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Kei Kamara is a false 9 like Tadic Dusan, they both travel around wings and create a passing angle on the both sides. Sam Nicholson and Andre Shinyashiki are static wing midfielders running along the tunnels.

What they have to improve

Colorado Rapids have pretty much the same tactic like the Ajax but not the skill. The players should improve circulate and keep the ball. Because there are so much lost balls, especially Kellyn Acosta needs to upgrade his skill for Robin Fraser’s playing style. I think, it needs some triangles to make the style better. But all players should train, it is not easy to do.

Robin Fraser is a good and experienced specialist. He can really improve the team and shift them to the top of the league.

Hit the comment what do you think about my opinion? Or you could see other things about their tactic style.

Another genius post from a Burgundy Wave reader! Remember that this was written by a fan, not an official Burgundy Wave writer, and the content of this post might not necessarily be an official opinion of this blog's management.