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Game Understanding

On Saturday, May 29th, the New York Red Bulls were back at home looking to get back in the win column against Orlando City SC. While the Red Bulls are historically strong at Red Bull Arena, they were facing a red-hot Orlando team that were undefeated through the first six games of the season. In the end, New York’s strong home form and suffocating press handed Orlando their first defeat of the season with a 2-1 final score.

This week we will look at how the Red Bulls were able to effectively press high up the field and pin Orlando back into their half. Have a look at the game highlights here and note when and where on the field New York frequently won the ball. Then have a crack at the questions below.

  1. The Red Bulls are known for an energetic press right from the first whistle. Watch the highlights at 0:50 secs. What are the essential components of setting a successful pressing trap in this case?
  2. At min 6:07 of the highlight video, New York is attacking when they lose possession. What happens next? Which players impacted the play?
  3.  At min 9:40 of the highlight video New York is still pressing high up the pitch. Both Kyle Duncan the right back and Tolkin the left back are involved in winning the ball on consecutive plays near Orlando’s penalty box. What are some important attributes for pressing fullbacks in this system?

Answers at the bottom of the page!

Game Understanding Answers

  1. Danny Royer makes the play predictable by allowing the pass to go wide to the full back. Immediately the receiver is outnumbered and put under pressure by Tolkin and Royer. Klimala and Amaya seal off the trap by blocking passing options. Net result is a turnover in a dangerous area with supporting numbers around the ball.
  2. New York win back possession almost immediately. Caden Clark, who made the pass before possession was lost, transitions to defending straight away and the Orlando player must release the ball quickly. Sean Davis, the deepest lying midfielder anticipates the danger and begins to move forward. His attempt to win the ball forces an errant pass. Finally, Tolkin the left back has remained connected with the team and is in position to intercept the pass.
  3. Speed, Stamina, Work rate, Recovery ability, Anticipation, Awareness, Tackling, Passing and Crossing ability. What others can you come up with?