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Game Understanding

After a last-minute goal to win against Columbus, the Red Bulls left it even later to snatch all three points at home to Montreal. Both teams squandered gilt edged chances in the first half with Carlos Coronel and Montreal’s goalkeeper Sebastian Brezan coming up with big saves.

New York subbed in Fabio to partner Patryk Klimala up front at the break and took control in the second half with many opportunities to break the deadlock. However, it was the introduction of the teenager Caden Clark that provided the breakthrough. Clark’s impetus stretched the tiring Montreal defense. After teeing up Cristian Casseres who hit the the post with a searing drive, Clark fashioned the game winner deep in added time. Klimala kept an Andres Reyes’ clearance alive and floated a cross to the back post where Clark cushioned a header back across to Fabio. The big Brazilian striker stretched to redirect the ball into the back of the net with a flicked header and cue pandemonium on the field and in the stands. New York’s playoff ambitions remain firmly alive going into the last week of the regular season.

In previous weeks we looked at RBNY’s pressing and counter-pressing “against the ball”. Watch the highlights above (or click here), and appreciate the number of times New York wins the ball back high up the field.

However, in this week’s Game Understanding we will look at a simple and effective yet often overlooked combination, the Give and Go. Watch the sequence at 3:10 a few times and consider the following questions:

  1. What was the visual cue for Andrew Gutman to initiate a give and go with Casseres?
  2. Does Gutman release the pass instantly or does he wait a beat? Why?
  3. How does Casseres’ movement keep the combination alive?

Answers at the bottom of the page!

Game Understanding Answers

  1. As Gutman receives the ball on his back foot he can see that he and Casseres are in a 2v2 situation with space behind the defenders, perfect for a give and go.
  2. Gutman delays the pass just a brief moment just enough to attract the attention of the first defender which opens up even more space in behind. Not only that, but because he waits till the defender is almost on him ,his pass to Casseres immediately eliminates that defender from the play. It is effectively 2v1 at that point.
  3. As the first defender presses Gutman, the passing lane to Casseres is closing. So Casseres starts to shift up to keep the angle for the pass open and Gutman can find him safely. The second defender is also dragged out of position to open even more space in behind for Gutman who can get on to the return pass in dangerous shooting position.