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Analysis: Columbus Crew 1 SJ Earthquakes 1

By Kyle Whitman




(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

With San Jose playing two forwards, the Crew didn’t have a spare center back to provide cover for the other. Both were responsible for sticking tight to a forward. Adam Jahn and Chris Wondolowski looked to work together to pull the Crew center backs out of position and open up space for balls in behind the defense. Both would start on the shoulder of the Crew center backs. One would check back into midfield towards the ball, forcing a center back to follow his run into midfield. The other would then make a diagonal run into the space left vacated by the center back stepping forward. This is the same type of forward movement you’ll often see Juventus use in their 3-5-2.

Jahn and Wondolowski also made plenty of diagonal runs into the channels behind the Crew fullbacks. This type of run caused Columbus problems in the first half. It would force Glauber or Chad Marshall to track the run into wide areas which meant the fullback on the opposite side would have to pinch in towards the middle of the box to help defend there. However, this would leave the back post unmarked and there were a few occasions in the first half when Ramiro Corrales and Morrow got into dangerous areas at the back post.

In the end the Crew’s back four deserves credit for how they dealt with Wondolowski and Jahn. Defending against a strong, physical front two is no easy task and they can draw positives from having kept the league MVP and golden boot winner in Wondolowski off the score sheet.