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Seattle Sounders v New England Revolution - Chalkboards Telling Different Stories

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 When Alvaro Fernandez scored the game winning goal in the 40th minute it wasn't just a display of solid passing and movement by Mauro Rosales, Roger Levesque and El Flaco. The build-up started well before Rosales got the ball, and was a prime example of the reset versus the retreat. When Patrick Ianni won the ball and Hurtado recovered it, Arlo indicated that the Sounders should look up the field quickly to take advantage of the down Kevin Alston. Instead they were patient, precise and used the long ball to scythe through two layers of the Revolution and create an instant opportunity.

Sometimes those back-passes to defenders can be issues. They can result in a retreat that winds up killing offensive momentum, but what the Sounders did was use short, patient passes to let a play build and become something much more dangerous than quick passing in the central third. That pass clearly ignited the play. Ianni won't go into the boxscore, but he should be credited with a quality play. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Servando Carrasco and Erik Friberg all played the ball safely. They maintained possession and let the attacking players put themselves in dangerous positions.

Rosales did exactly that. With Alston down, #TheTrialist saw space where he could receive that ball, dribble into space and cause mismatches. Fernanez' overlapping run doesn't appear in the 60 second chalkboard (direct link to data from which graphic created), but that overlap that Rosales skipped is what created the space inside the 18 for Levesque to operate.

It may be the goal that gets the attention, but it was the play of 7 of the 10 outfield players in 5 passes that led to it being a success. It was an example of the way a play can be drawn up or improvised, and a way that non-threatening possession becomes an attack in mere seconds. It isn't the long ball that's bad, but instead bad long balls. To see just the graphic above click here.

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