RSL's weekly changes in defense: Breaking down the breakdowns

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

We are probably right to wonder why our defending has been a bit of a scattered showing across 2013, but we can be relatively assured that the answer is a simple one: Consistency. Through the season, we've deployed a number of defensive players — let's take a look at those, looking backward from yesterday.

Raw information is below, but let's distill it first. Of the 30 games we've played in all competitions, we've kept the same defensive setup only 9 times. Three times, we've made three changes to our back line; once in the US Open Cup against Portland, once in a draw against Philadelphia Union, and once in a 4-1 thumping of Chivas USA.

We've averaged just over a single change per match (1.06). That obviously doesn't help with cohesion, and in the last 10 games, we've averaged 1.4 changes at the back. But we might find that it doesn't correlate strictly with results — there are clearly a lot of factors at play.

After a win, of which we've had 16, we've averaged 0.75 changes at the back. That seems natural enough. After a loss, of which we've had 8, we've averaged 1.375 changes at the back.

Again, these probably mean very little, particularly in the grand scheme of things, but they do provide a fascinating look at what's been a tough squad to manage. With serious injuries to Chris Schuler and Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and sustained periods of absence from Nat Borchers (injury), Tony Beltran (international duty), and Chris Wingert (injury), it's even more difficult. These absences have been more or less forced, and it's difficult to blame anyone for the consistent changes.

It hardly takes into account the role of the midfield in playing into the defensive shape, and it surely doesn't consider the opposition. But in the future, we'll certainly have to hope for a less scattered squad.

* * *

Aug. 21, Portland 3-3 RSL: Beltran, McDonald, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 1

Aug. 17, LA Galaxy 4-2 RSL: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 0

Aug. 10, RSL 1-0 Houston: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 0

Aug. 7, RSL 2-1 Portland (USOC): Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 3

Aug. 3, Colorado 2-2 RSL: Palmer, McDonald, Borchers, Mansally | Change: 1

July 27, New York 4-3 RSL: Palmer, Maund, Borchers, Mansally | Change: 1

July 20, RSL 1-2 Sporting KC: Palmer, Maund, Borchers, Wingert (Mansally sub) | Change: 2

July 13, RSL 3-0 FC Dallas: Wingert, Salcedo, Borchers, Mansally | Change: 1

July 3, RSL 2-2 Philadelphia Union: Palmer, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 3

June 29, Toronto 0-1 RSL: Beltran, Maund, Borchers, Palmer | Change: 2

June 26, RSL 3-0 Carolina: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 0

June 22, RSL 2-0 Seattle: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 1

June 12, RSL 5-2 Charleston (AET): Beltran, Maund (sub 63'), Borchers, Wingert | Change: 1

June 8, RSL 3-1 LA Galaxy: Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 0

June 1, RSL 3-0 San Jose: Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Borchers, Wingert (Mansally sub 58') | Change: 2

May 28, RSL 3-2 Atlanta (AET): Palmer, Salcedo, Watson-Siriboe, Wingert | Change: 2

May 25, RSL 1-1 Chicago Fire: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 0

May 19, Chivas USA 1-4 RSL: Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 3

May 11, Montreal 3-2 RSL: Palmer, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler, Wingert | Change: 2

May 8, New England 1-2 RSL: Beltran, Schuler, Salcedo, Wingert | Change: 1

May 4, RSL 2-0 Vancouver: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Wingert | Change: 1

April 27, RSL 0-2 LA Galaxy: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Palmer | Change: 0

April 20, RSL 1-0 Chivas USA: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Palmer | Change: 0

April 13, Vancouver 1-1 RSL: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Palmer | Change: 1

April 6, Colorado 1-0 RSL: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers: Mansally | Change: 0

March 30, RSL 2-1 Seattle: Beltran, Schuler, Borchers, Mansally (sub Palmer 81') | Change: 2

March 23, FC Dallas 2-0 RSL: Palmer, Watson-Siriboe, Borchers, Schuler | Change: 1

March 16, RSL 1-1 Colorado: Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler, Palmer | Change: 1

March 9, DC United 1-0 RSL: Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler, Mansally (Palmer sub 66') | Change: 0

March 3, San Jose 0-2 RSL: Beltran, Watson-Siriboe, Schuler, Mansally

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