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Game Understanding

On Saturday, May 8th, the New York Red Bulls were the dominant team in a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. Frankie Amaya gave the Red Bulls lead in the first half and Caden Clark put the game out of reach in the second as the Red Bulls captured their second straight win at Red Bull Arena.

Amaya’s first goal for the Red Bulls started with Clark stripping Marky Delgado and making a penetrating run before finding Fábio in the box. With back to goal, the Brazilian laid the ball off to Amaya who fired a low, well-struck shot inside the near post from just outside the 18-yard box.

In the highlights below you can see a very popular playing style that is associated with the most exciting and dominant teams in modern soccer – pressing. Pressing is when the defending team intends to pressure the opponent with the purpose of regaining possession of the ball. To be successful with the concept, the pressing team should display high level of energy, discipline, bravery, and aggression.

Watch the game highlights from 2:43 to 3:00, and answer the following questions:

  1. In what part of the field is pressing used? Why do Red Bulls want to win the ball back there?
  2. How many players are involved in the process?
  3. What are some key player attributes you can highlight from the clip that allows Red Bulls to regain possession of the ball and score?

Answers are at the bottom of the page!

Game Understanding Answers

  1. In the opponent’s half (middle to attacking third, wide left area). We want to press high and win it back there to immediately transition into attacking and create opportunities to score.
  2. Four players – Fabio, Clark, White, Amaya
  3. Fabio, White – speed, aggression, energy. Clark – anticipation, bravery. Amaya – discipline, work ethic.