Last Saturday, the match featured four seperate formational/tactical systems. As noted there was the lopsided 4-diamond-2, the traditional 4-diamond-2 and the concave 4-3-3. In the final moments we also saw a fairly typical pull the forward for a CB move to upgrade the defense. Seattle Sounders FC Coach Sigi Schmid is in fact trying new things, doing it in games that matter, and he's earning points while trying to learn the best way forward for the team until the Summer Transfer Window opens.
Today Sigi was asked about the midfield diamond and this was part of his response;
A system is merely a conduit to allow the players to best use their abilities and that’s what we are trying to do.
Not to get too excited, but that is awesome. Sigi has been a coach that found players to fit his system, but right now he doesn't have those players and he's trying to find ways to feature his best players and amplify every one's abilities. The experiment I liked the best was the late shift to the concave 4-3-3 with a front three from left to right of Mike Fucito - Fredy Montero - Nate Jaqua. It wasn't just great because it got my favorite player on the ptich with the team's best offensive player, but it was an effective way to feature the midfield at the time. It also had a greater than 6 footer out there for set-play work late.
This concave 4-3-3 puts Montero in that trequartista role, but it also pulls Alvaro Fernandez and an if healthy Brad Evans into more central positions than even the diamond. Putting two of Fucito, Jaqua and Mauro Rosales (if healthy) up top to start would ensure a little bit of speed, provide a scoring threat still on the bench and allow for a shift to the more typical system as well. With the forward line pushed wider than typical the fullbacks wouldn't need to go as far past the centerline helping reduce the effect of counters.
While it looks slightly like a diamond the width of forwards and the role of Montero gave it a 4-3-3 feel. Two months ago if someone suggested this as a way for Seattle to move forward I would have laughed as it would have been outside of Sigi's system. Those thoughts can disappear. Sigi will look for ways to win, without regard for his long tested systems.
(On the diamond midfield…) "I don’t know. We might switch back this week so you don’t know. It’s just a matter of, again, you use the talents of the players that you have. We wanted to see how it would look with Mauro [Rosales] underneath so we wanted to take a look at that. We wanted to open up some space on the flanks for our outside backs. I thought [James] Riley got forward at times. Tyson [Wahl] got forward at times as well. We just figured it suited our personnel a little bit better. […] A system is merely a conduit to allow the players to best use their abilities and that’s what we are trying to do."
The rest of Schmid's quotes include a health update
(On importance of upcoming games…) "Obviously [they are] important games because we are playing teams in our division and that’s always important, measure ourselves against Dallas, measure ourselves against Salt Lake in Salt Lake is going to be important for us. But the first task at hand is Dallas at home and we want to do very well."
(On FC Dallas…) "They still have a lot of threats. Obviously Brek Shea had a good season for them last year and he’s still a good player. The players up front for them, Marvin Chavez has been playing up front. He’s fast. They’ve got good team speed. [Fabian] Castillo, the other forward, has good speed, good quickness as well. They bring in [Eric] Avila off the bench. He’s another guy who is pretty quick. […] They are a team that is trying to adjust also and they’ve had a good streak. They’ve had quite a few home games in that streak and they took advantage of their run at home. We need to do the same."
(On three matches in one week…) "Well, today we didn’t train very hard, making sure we get some energy back. It’s just a matter of everybody managing their bodies. A three-game in a week schedule is something that we’ve experienced often times in the past, especially last year and we will experience that again in the future. It’s a matter of you got to look at your individual players. Some guys might need a rest. Some guys can come back on pretty short notice. Obviously we have got some guys who are injured who we are still trying to work back into the team so maybe that will give us the opportunity to rest some people as well."
(On Sounders FC injuries…) "Mauro [Rosales] feels fine after the game so we will see how he feels tomorrow but he was fine today and did what he had to do today, normal stuff. [Brad] Evans was in training today and so he said he felt fine. We will see how he feels tomorrow. [Erik] Friberg was in training as well so he feels fine. And again, each day we will see how he feels."