The DC United attack and why it struggles

Hey everybody its your favorite performance based results complainer and I have put some extra effort in to showing exactly why our offense continues to be unimpressive this season. I took screenshots from just the first 10 minutes of the Chicago game from Wednesday to illustrate exactly what I am seeing. I also wanted to get clips of a team with a team considered to have a strong attack (Seattle), but while I was watching the early stages of their match vs Philly from this week I was far more surprised to see how much better even Philly is at the principles of attack than DC.

Note: I do understand that our lineup vs Chi was not close to our strongest, but I PROMISE this is the same stuff I have seen every match. I can do evaluations of those later if so desired.

We will start at the begining of the match and right after kickoff our shape is exactly what you want to see when in possession. Our outside backs are very wide and no area of the field is to congested with players. (Pic 1)

PIC 1:

Minutes later we have a throw-in in the middle third of the field and this is our shape:

Image and video hosting by TinyPicLook at how compact we are! This is horrendous offense. We have 4 players within 10 yards of the ball, our weak side (Doyle and Mischu) are providing some width, but their is still close to half a field unused and worst of all we are outnumbered 6v7 on the wing because we have brought so many defenders with us.

Here is a technical breakdown that I can't believe I see from a pro player. Halsti receives the ball with space to open his hips to see the entire field, but he doesn't. In CDM this is a major issue. If he opens his hips properly then Birnbaum and Aguilar are passing options with lots of space to work with, but Halsti doesn't open his hips plays the ball to Silva and he has to dribble by 2 players and draw a foul to start the attack. As a CDM you HAVE to open your hips to launch the attack. (Pic 3)

Pic 3:

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Now this is the first point in the match where I look at our shape and am happy after the kickoff. Doyle and Mischu are giving width on the weak side (Mischu not pictured), Silva and Halsti are far enough away from the ball to give Boswell some space to play in while also showing some support.

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However now the Strikers are providing nothing for Boswell as a good forward option. (You can see all of the space near the midline in the photo above). Coria nor Arrieta has not yet even come close to the midline to check back and receive the ball. Boswell is forced to hit a low percentage aerial ball to pick out the strikers and nothing comes of the good spacing.

Here is an example of what good spacing provided for DC just 3 min later. Doyle has the ball. The good spacing allows him to play a ball to Arrieta who checks back to receive the ball. Arrieta makes a one touch pass to Silva who makes a pass to Doyle who has made a run in behind the Chicago right back.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThat is a simple combination and the first real threat DC has made in possession without being fouled.It is now 10 min into the match (11% of the match is gone before DC have had a coherent buildup).

Now here is Philly. They are a considerably worse team according to the standings, but their spacing is far superior to ours and that is why they manage 3 good buildups vs Seattle in 6 minutes.

Here are 2 pictures from the same buildup, just look at the spacing Philly has. They effortlessly get the ball up the pitch and secure their first CK of the match.

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Now here is another good build up I will note that both their is a player ready to receive the ball in the channel and that the CDM opened his hips and was able to have both sides of the field as potential targets.

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And finally here is how to properly space yourself when the ball is on the flank.

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To finish the point I've been trying to make the entire season. Playing decent offense isn't strictly about who is on the field player wise. Their are principles to playing good offense (penetration, width, depth, support and creativity) that every team follows in order to be successful and plain and simple we are not doing well enough on even the basic principle of width to be successful. How have we not improved even slightly on this so far this season? It's not good enough. Our defensive principles are so strong that we are able to get results with just 1 goal, but if we don't improve the attack I promise we will fall behind the league again and have a shit season soon.

"Don't base your success on whether your team wins or loses, but by how they play the game"

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