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4/9/13 :: Santos : SSFC (CCL) -- KICK 17:00

Everything match specific.

Unread postby liquidmj » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:05:02 pm

Hosted by Emerald City Supporters

Live Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 Kickoff at 17:00

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Unread postby FuzzyForeigner » Mon Apr 8, 2013 9:16:54 am

see you fuckers at AC. gonna be an epic one. I feel it.
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Unread postby Jabsco » Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:45:33 pm

FuzzyForeigner wrote:see you fuckers at AC. gonna be an epic one. I feel it.


See you there, I'll be the guy drinking.
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Unread postby JerrarDAtkinson » Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:14:57 pm

It's a champions league semi final, there's 90 minutes to play. The odds are against us, but at this stage in the tournament anything is possible and if the players and management don't believe there's a way to win, then there's no point to their existence as sounders. I like us a lot better when we're playing as the underdog anyway.

Talk from a few players and Sigi this week focused on the need for more cohesion - more understanding between players. That's part of it, but the fact that this group has had limited time training together needs to come into consideration when setting the team up.

Generally, I'd favor a fast-paced, high-pressure approach from us. Torreon is not the place for that though. Santos will be waiting for us to over commit and the gap in quality is too high. They will beat our press, counter and shred us to bits.

The most important thing in matches like this is organization. When we lose the ball everyone needs to understand where and how to recover. And when we have the ball, we need to understand where the match ups favor us and how to exploit them.

Unless we decide to play with one striker, the extra effect on defense will need to come from the outside mids. Some have observed that Ozzie has been off form in the last few matches. I disagree. I think he's been left to mop up so much crap that's he's spread too thin, making it impossible to be effective. The outside mids need to do a better job of helping their fullbacks, because Santos' wide attacking players vs our fullbacks are gross mismatches. Double up on the flanks, and force them inside. This will allow Ozzie to stay more central where he's the most effective, instead of being pulled wide to help defend the counter. If we can cut off their easy route to the counter - which is down the line - and force them inside, it will allow us to utilize Ozzie's and Joseph's to physicality to win the ball back. It should go without saying but we also cannot afford any mental mistakes. No ball touches the ground, you don't lose your man on set pieces, and we don't give the ball away cheaply in the back. Their goal in the home match came when three defenders came in to deal with a punt from the keeper, and none of them succeeded. That simply cannot happen.

When we have the ball, it may seem that the best thing to do would be attack hard, fast, and in numbers, considering we need to score to get anything. That would be suicide. As stated in our defensive approach, they are waiting for us to over commit and will tear us to bits after one or two stray passes on our part. We need to be able to construct effective attacks with 4 players, 5 max, at least in the first 60 minutes. Any more pushed forward and we're left defending 3v3 or 4v4 on the counter: not what I want to see coming at me if I'm Gspurning. This means we will need patience and quality on the ball, and we need to know which spaces to try and exploit, and with whom.

We need to look for 1v1 opportunities with Martins, Zak or EJ. With Mauro off form or half fit or whatever is wrong with him right now, we need Martinez and Joseph to be the creators. I'd look for Zak as the first outlet. His first instinct when he receives the ball must be to run at his defender. Get wide, get the ball, face up, cause your defender hell. Even if the outside mid is coming back to help defend, just run away from him and get yourself 1v1. He's not going to beat his man every time, but he will get him thinking and if he's coming from wide enough, worst case scenario is we get a throw in in the offensive half.

Next is where the cohesion comes in. That is all on EJ and Martins for me, and it's 100% off the ball. Because on the ball, I just cannot see how Martins and EJ will work together. Neither are renowned for their link up play, ability to get assists, or for providing support for their partner. They have different qualities, but both their games are based around pace, power and finishing. That means they need to understand each other's movement off the ball. They can and will get defenders worried if their movement is good. One needs to be running the channels, pulling defenders out of space, and the other needs to find that space. It can happen in the opposite order as well. One of my favorite things to do as a striker is begin my run from an offside position. Get behind the defenders so they know you're there, but not where you're going. Then break into the space in front of them, showing with back to goal. For a split second, they're caught off guard and can either get sucked out toward you, or leave you in the space. If they get sucked up, that is the other strikers chance to break in behind. If you're left alone you can receive the ball with a little bit of time. Both are capable of either role, so they need to know who goes where, when. Hopefully they can get in behind once or twice early, and draw the defenders deeper. This will open up the space Martinez and Joseph need to operate in. It's up to those two to be the creative forces and provide the service the strikers need to make their chances. Those chances will come when we exploit the matchups which suit us. Baloy is a monster. We need to get around him. And their fullbacks are happy attacking so can be susceptible to leaving space open. If we can isolate Martins or EJ in the spaces between the center backs and the full backs, we will cause them trouble. We also need to be able to find a way to get them the ball when they are facing the goal. I think Santos will be quite happy if they can keep Martins and EJ facing away from goal because we have very limited threat from 30 yards. But I believe if Joseph and Martinez can get a little space, they have the vision and quality and the strikers have the pace and power to open their defence and create chances. Think of Ochoa's 1v1 in the home leg, but with a higher quality strike at the end of it.

I'd say something about set pieces but it seems we're completely lost and if we haven't done anything at this point there's no reason to suggest we'll do anything different.

I'd start with:
Gspurning
Yedlin Traore Hurtado Gonzalez
Martinez Joseph Alonso Zak
Martins EJ

This plan goes for 60 minutes. If we're still down with 25-30 minutes left we need to go for it. Bring on Mauro for Yedlin and go three at the back, Evans for Zak for a bit more cover and fresh legs. Then we go balls out. Pump the ball forward and fight tooth and nail for the knock downs and hope we get a break.

Team Talk:
The last thing any good coach sets his team out with before the match is their mentality. First, we need at least two leaders on the field. I'd have a word with Ozzie and Traore that we need them to be the linchpins for us. They need to shine, and they need to be able to raise their team mates' games. Gspurning would fit into that category as well but nothing needs to be said to him. He knows he must organize his defenders, lift his players and play out of his mind.

The group mentality for this match is that we've got nothing to lose. We're expected to get beat. If we go out at this stage, it's considered a worthy effort and no one's surprised. But we're better than people think and we've got plenty in our locker that no one has seen yet. Tigres underestimated us and Santos are thinking back to their win at home last year. Their supporters are cocky and expect us to roll over. We can use that to gain a mental advantage over them. If we can build some pressure, and not give away many chances, then even if we haven't scored the game looks like it's there for either team to win. Their supporters get anxious and the energy affects the players. It's not much, but it could be a deciding factor as one of their players makes a mistake to let us in, or misses a chance to finish. Lastly, tell them that the club is proud of what the they've have accomplished. All the players are top pros and they're a quality team who deserves to be where they are. But, a little extra effort today could transform them from that, to heroes. They all have the chance to be special, so who's gonna take it?
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Unread postby Llarian » Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:27:39 pm

Martins is out until Saturday at the earliest.
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Unread postby JerrarDAtkinson » Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:31:12 pm

Damnit.
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Unread postby JerrarDAtkinson » Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:43:07 pm

no changes then other than swap Martins out for Ochoa and have him showing up while EJ runs the channels.
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Unread postby delmundo » Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:56:27 pm

Well, we do have a lot of money as a club, and it is CONCACAF.......
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Unread postby ProdigalReality » Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:55:39 pm

When it comes to Ozzie, defensively he's been his usual self. But, when it comes to adding to the offense, he's been making a lot of erratic passes and just general bad decisions. If he can't get back into his old form by this match, we're going to struggle getting the ball forward to EJ and up the wings. We can't rely on Mauro, Mario, and Zak to take the ball up field at all times.
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Unread postby SimonM » Tue Apr 9, 2013 7:56:33 am

Great post, JerrarD. One small observation - you mentioned about doubling up on Santos Laguna's wide players and forcing them inside. If Carlos Darwin Quintero plays in midfield in the second leg, as he did in the first, then he is a guy that you want to keep out wide. Not only does he have that great shot on him, he is also very adept at drifting in and threading through-balls to the frontmen. He's not really a 'get to the by-line, swing in a cross' type of player for the most part. So I think we would be better off playing narrower, try to squeeze the space in the middle. Santos Laguna won't commit a whole lot of men forward, so the focus needs to be on stopping the quick counters.

Other than that, totally agree with everything you say. Keep it tight and don't take too many risks, at least for the first hour. Put yourselves in a position to steal it. It kinda sounds like EJ will be starting on the bench, so probably start Ochoa up top on his own, where he did a decent job in the first leg, with support from out wide by Martinez, and maybe Zakuani too. Then bring EJ on to give us that extra push in the second half.

The heat will favor Santos Laguna, but it will drain them too, especially since they had a game on Saturday night. The longer the game goes on, the more gaps will likely appear for us to exploit.
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Unread postby finnfan » Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:02:37 am

Moderator note: topics merged. Customarily we have had only one topic for each match, one topic that includes all pre-, in-, and post-match analysis as well as info on the viewings.
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Unread postby Llarian » Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:03:45 am

"for each mast"?

"post-march analysis"?

Antti, have you been drinking? :P
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Unread postby finnfan » Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:04:47 am

Llarian wrote:"for each mast"?

"post-march analysis"?

Antti, have you been drinking? :P

I hvae no idae waht your takling abouut.
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Unread postby FuzzyForeigner » Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:45:25 am

wow massive post atkinson. i hope we see more of those for every match. it would totally enrich the ecs online experience on these forums.
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Unread postby vallenato78 » Tue Apr 9, 2013 10:03:55 am

Quintero is lightning fast also. He can/will beat most of our defenders.
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