2010 Retrospective: Formations

JOHANNESBURG, June 18, 2010 The line-ups of the United States pose for a photo prior to the 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match between the United States and Slovenia at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 18, 2010.

Formations are funny things. They can be rigid and uncompromising, a solution for an uninspired offense. Or they can be fluid, perhaps even beautiful – a reflection of a squad’s free-flowing approach.

Bob Bradley, like most managers, tries to strike a balance between defensive solidarity and attacking fluidity. His 4-4-2 allows Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey to make the best use of their attacking talents while simultaneously placing defenders in key positions.

Today, we’ve prepared a graphical running record of the United States’ 2010 formations. This is not an attempt to disparage or praise Bradley’s tactics. We simply thought it would be interesting to see a year’s worth of formations in one place.

The most rabid USMNT fans might notice that, though the United States played fourteen matches, we’ve only listed ten. The four excluded matches were played by backups. We’ve only included games where the majority of the players were ‘A-teamers.’

We did not account for desperation changes, either. For example, against Algeria the US was using a 3-4-3 for a few minutes as they desperately sought the goal that would send them into the knockout rounds.

You’ll see the starting formation in the first picture and, in the other, the formation used for the majority of the second half.


USA's 1st half formations

USA's 2nd half formations

Gringos, what do you think? Is it interesting to see all of the formations together?

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bradley's Receding Hairline says:

    4-4-2 becomes 4-4-1-1. Come on Bob, can we have a little less predictability in 2011?

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