The “False 9” – Post-Match Report: RSL

April 5, 2015

UPDATE!!  On MLSSoccer.com, Wondo is listed as a right wing in the formation, with Nyassi as a forward.  Either this is a mistake, or Dom put out one line-up and played a False 9.  If you watch the match, Wondo is exclusively in the middle on MPG’s left.  This is a classic False 9 formation.

Frustrating.  I normally like to do a statistical break-down of the match, but for all intents and purposes, the stats were relatively similar.  Both sides had an almost equal amounts of shots (SJ 12, RSL 10), shots on goal (SJ 3, RSL 2), scoring chances (RSL 8, SJ 6), pass efficiency (73%), total passes (SJ 370, RSL 341), and possession (SJ 52.4%, RSL 47.6%).  So what happened??

Kinnear played a False 9, and it backfired big-time.  A False 9 is when your attacking forward (the #9 position on the field) drops back to play midfield in order to confuse center-backs into covering the attacking forward by coming out of the box when he drops back into the midfield, or staying in the box and leaving him free.  Wondo was playing the False 9 today, with Jahn and Innocent as the other forwards.  He got zero shots.  What’s worse, the guys that are supposed to have the opportunities to score (Innocent and Jahn) could not finish.  The result was a lackluster performance leaving many Quakes fans questioning the tactical decisions.

The only goal of the game came when Javier Morales scored on a rebound off his own free kick at 44′.  The Quakes had a few chances, including a Koval header at the end of the first half and a Jahn tap that missed the far post midway through the second half, but could not capitalize.

A few thoughts on player performances:

The Good

Cordell Cato – Did a great job at right back.  NO COMPLAINTS!  I was a little worried, but he played great.

David Bingham – despite a second miscue in which he waited to clear the ball, resulting in a blocked clearance in goal, he played a relatively clean game.  The goal was a great second-chance opportunity that he had no way to stop.

The Defense in general.  I’m on record as saying I’m not a Bernardez fan, but he played a great game, along with Goodson.  You can’t ask for more from your centerbacks when they limit the other team to just two shots on goal.  Even Shaun Francis looked good before his concussion (he may be out awhile!).

The Bad

Dom Kinnear’s “False 9” formation.  He played a 4-3-3, but a False 9 plays like a 4-4-2.  It didn’t work.  It was also a completely different set than the 4-2-3-1 he normally plays, which caused some confusion in the midfield at times.  As a Monday-morning quarterback, I think it was a bad decision, but I do credit Dom for trying to mix things around.

JJ Koval: it’s not his fault Francis got injured, but his lack of pace showed today.  Amazingly he came on as a defender, yet had three shots, two on goal, an 80% pass efficiency, and one chance created.

Innocent: 2 shots, none on goal.  Dispossessed four times.  Ugh..

Where’s Wondo?   0 shots.  68% pass accuracy.  29 touches.  If Jahn can’t finish, he has to be up top.  No more trickery, Dom!

The Ugly

Jahn.  58% in aerial duels won.  That is bad for a guy listed at 6’3″.   He also completed just 48% of his passes.  That’s REALLY bad.  Three shots, with just one going right to Nick Rimando without any pace.  He needed to finish, and he didn’t.

Nyassi: 26 touches.  1 aerial duel won.  26 touches from a midfielder explains why the Quakes lacked an attack today.  I don’t understand why Kinnear keeps starting him, but Salinas is also not making a strong case to start either.  I would like to see Shea to get a start at right wing next time, as this was his first time at RW this season.  I think if he starts, he can perform better than Nyassi.

For the record, I also want to see Tommy Thompson play, or go to Sacramento where he can get experience.  Keeping him on the bench is not helping his development, and he’s got a bright future.

Next game: Saturday, April 11th against Vancouver.  See you there!

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