Bravery, honor, & courage are just a few terms we use to describe our national bird, the Bald Eagle.
A symbol of what this country embodies. Unfortunately, this currently isn’t true for our local beloved soccer club. Once a feared, respected group amongst the very top of the league; D.C. United has been off the mark for a while now. This is a story about a diamond in the rough.
The warmth of summer is coming to an end, and hopefully with it, the end of the goal-scoring drought. August hasn’t been too kind to United, the team has played 5 games with a total of 0 goals scored. With a dismal 0-1-4 record since their last win on the final day of July against Orlando City, DC has been in a downward spiral. Additionally, the defensive woes are piling up, currently with the lowest goal difference in the league (-27). Adjusting to a back 4 seems like a colossal task.
To understand why the team is having such a hard time defensively, let’s dive back into last year. Before Wayne Rooney arrived as coach, the team heavily relied on the 3-4-3 formation. More than 50% of the time, the team was set up in a formation with 3 central defenders.
One glaring difference is that Rooney, previously at Derby County, in the English Championship, typically preferred the 4-2-3-1 formation. With an extra defender, an emphasis on the goalkeeper playing higher up between the 2 center backs is the key.
Adjusting to this formation is very difficult because it requires a change of mentality. Rooney opted to have different variations of a back 4 more than half the time while at Derby. Having fullbacks who attack, is an integral part of this setup because they contribute heavily to the attacking side. However, it’s also leaving the defense more vulnerable in case they make an error, a huge gamble with this formation.
Patience is a Virtue
Practice makes perfect. It’s much too soon to give up on these ideals. Nearly pulling off a miracle by almost keeping Derby County afloat. There’s recent evidence that we got the right man for the job. One attribute that’s synonymous with Wayne, is that he’s simply a fighter. He doesn’t give up, not till the very end.
Timing is key to the players understanding his vision. Results are bound to improve in due time. With some new additions & more training tactically, results should sway positively soon.