Three things RSL got right in 4-2 win over Portland — especially the midfield

George Frey

How'd we beat Portland so handily on Sunday? Three things that define Sunday's match, and unsurprisingly, the midfield takes the center stage.

1) Javier Morales played in wider positions, playing a little more on the right side than the left side. By taking up wider positions than he usually does, opening lanes in the middle for Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez to work. It also afforded Morales space and time on the ball - a stark contrast to the last match in Portland, where nothing really flowed as it should because everything had become untenably clogged through the middle. With Morales in wide positions, Velasquez and Gil essentially formed a pairing patrolling the middle, with Beckerman beneath them. It exemplifies the flexibility of the diamond midfield, particularly when the point of the diamond is allowed to float.

2) Chris Schuler pushed higher than Nat Borchers, narrowing the defensive approach considerably. This was somewhat metered by the preponderance of deep positions held by Kyle Beckerman (see below), but with Chris Schuler as the closing player and Borchers as the containment player, the defensive approach was altered - and with good effect. The first goal was created not out of a tactical error, but out of an individual error - a needless foul when play was under control. The second goal was created through a slight bit of inattention when we were up 4-1, which doesn't excuse the goal, but does offer some sort of explanation toward it.

3) Kyle Beckerman retreated into deeper positions into a hybrid defensive role, at times playing even deeper than Schuler and Borchers. In fact, Beckerman attempted (and completed) only two passes in the attacking third. He wasn't quite a third central defender, but he wasn't far off. Beckerman is no stranger to being a deep-lying playmaker, but that role has often been forgone in exchange for a more attacking slant to his play. This had two major effects: The remaining midfielders were freed up to move in more attacking ways with Beckerman playing more defensively, and there was additional room in the midfield areas for those freed players to operate.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join RSL Soapbox

You must be a member of RSL Soapbox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at RSL Soapbox. You should read them.

Join RSL Soapbox

You must be a member of RSL Soapbox to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at RSL Soapbox. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker