San Jose Earthquakes Tactics: Formation Change Might Do the Trick

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 29: San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Ceren (17) traps the ball during a MLS match between Minnesota United FC and San Jose Earthquakes on April 29, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. San Jose defeated Minnesota 1-0. (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial- I discussed Dom Kinnear’s lack of adaptation to the way their squad was built , and how to play in MLS 3.0, in a very long-winded article last week. With his back against the wall, Kinnear decided he was going to change things up. They called it a 4-2-3-1, but basically a variation on a 4-3-3 lineup was one of the first times Kinnear had run out a lineup like that since 2015. While it took his back being against the wall to change it up, it still changed, and that was all that had been asked.

San Jose Earthquakes Tactics: Formation Change Might Do the Trick

For the moment, Kinnear’s job is safe. They could also go on to lose the next three games and he’d most likely be sacked. But the patience with results, and Dom Kinnear, was starting to wear thin. And in regards to the front office, it had to be wearing thin as well.

So Kinnear finally got away from the drab 4-4-2, playing two defensive midfielders simultaneously without any attack minded midfielder floating in front of them, and they pull out a very rare road win. A 1-0 victory against a Minnesota team who had been much better than their first two games looks pretty nice. Now, they have to see how it plays against Portland. A much tougher task.

Let’s take a look at the stats from this win:

  • 16 Shots Total, six on target, four on target from within 18
  • 532 Passes Completed
  • Possession battle won 52%-48%
  • 153 passes completed in the final 1/3

Not bad. However, they’ve put together some performances like this before in 2017. But, this is much better. They really just need to get their finishing boots on. While there is some good stuff from what we saw this weekend, there are also a few things that leave me concerned about the formation as a whole.

Concerns of the Lineup Composition

Some of this is really nit-picky, but I also believe it is valid criticism. First things first, you likely can’t play all three strikers in this 4-2-3-1 lineup they rolled out, and get away with it every match. If Danny Hoesen and Chris Wondolowski are going to be on the field at the same time, Ureña can’t be listed as the center forward. That kind-of negates what he does best. Instead, they should’ve played Wondo as the central striker of that front three, and have Hoesen and Ureña be the wider players in that front three. Both have a good amount of pace and technical ability, which suits them out wide. Wondo doesn’t have the pace and technical ability that they do, but he is the finisher. So it’s logical that you would put him as the lead striker here.

Overall the change in tactics here is something that Earthquakes fans should rejoice at. Kinnear finally got away from the unimaginative and rugged 4-4-2 that they ran with for the whole of their terrible 2016 campaign. Now, there are some tweaks that should happen. Here is how I would roll out that lineup for this week’s match against Portland:

What are your thoughts? Comment below and let us know! Is this the best set up for the Quakes? Or is another formation/lineup better?

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Daniel is a California native currently landlocked in Kansas City. He's a Mass-Comm and Journalism student, and an avid bay area sports fan. If he's not in the press box at Sporting KC games, or in class, he's probably golfing or drinking coffee at a local shop.

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