Trends in Major League Soccer are typically difficult to identify. The league’s salary cap structure, as well as the playoff format, is designed to ensure a level of parity and competitiveness to prevent the same parties from consistently hoisting MLS Cup over and over again. Take a look southwest towards Carson and you will find a Galaxy team, once the league’s darling, still struggling to rise from its stage of mediocrity – Ibrahimovic notwithstanding. Turn north and be reminded of Toronto F.C., a side which ascended from the pit of despair to host MLS Cup twice, before returning to the postseason-less wasteland a year later.Continue reading
Fresh off a last-minute 2-1 victory over the L.A. Galaxy, the Colorado Rapids find themselves in unfamiliar territory ahead of what striker Jack McBean called a “must-win game” against the San Jose Earthquakes.
For the first time all season, the Rapids have demonstrated progress. Ever since Anthony Hudson oversaw a formation shift to the 4-4-2-Diamond, Colorado has shown glimpses – if brief – of Pádraig Smith’s “attacking soccer” vision for the Burgundy Boys.
The glimpses first came in Salt Lake, where the Rapids exhibited strength and resilience in responding to an early setback by earning a much-deserved draw. While Colorado ultimately failed to garner a result the following week in the District of Columbia, new signing Kellyn Acosta provided a needed spark to what was previously an overrun and uncreative midfield. Then, against the Galaxy, all the pieces came together: the Rapids dominated possession, looked dangerous on the attack, and created consistent chances. The match was perhaps Colorado’s most complete showing of the year.
When Anthony Hudson was brought on as the new head coach of the Colorado Rapids, the club’s supporters quickly learned that the Englishman had a penchant for three-at-the-back.
Throughout the first half of the 2018 MLS Season, Hudson cobbled together a wide variety of lineups that fit this mold. The manager alternated between his primary tactic of placing two out-and-out-strikers ahead of three central midfielders (5-3-2) and a secondary strategy that dropped a striker in exchange for additional help in the attacking midfield (5-2-2-1).
Hudson’s three-at-the-back formation was a staple during his tenure at the head of New Zealand’s national team. When faced with elimination against Peru in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying playoff round, Hudson held firm and lined-up his side in the same 5-3-2 he utilized a year before during the Confederations Cup.