Let’s Play Coach With Real Salt Lake

Next Sunday March 3th Real Salt Lake starts its 9th MLS Season with an opening match against San Jose Earthquakes and with some key players out because of injuries - Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert and Javier Morales. Luis Gil will also likely be missing due to the USA under 20 men’s team in the qualifiers to the 2013 U20 World Cup in Turkey.

Preseason is done and we all know that Jason Kreis is not going to change his 4-1-2-1-2 formation. This isn’t surprising even though the squad is missing players. Big teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United never change their tactics based on the team they will be facing, or if players are unavailable. They keep the same style just like Real Salt Lake does. But have you ever wondered how RSL would look if they played a different style? Together let’s imagine how that would look.

First let’s look at a 4-2-2-2 which it could fit well with some of the players available. It would keep the defensive tactical style firm and strong a lot of the attack would come from the wings with the RB and LB joining the RM and LM like Brazil does. Speed would be the dangerous part of this system with Mansally, Beltran helping Grabavoy and Velasquez on the attack and with Plata and Findley at the top with their speed surprising the defenders, a lot of movement of the top four would be required because they won’t need to defend as much knowing that Beckerman and Alvarez will hold the mid-field and help Schuler and Kwame on defense when the opposition will break on attack. It could be a fast pace style and the wings are the main attack system but still strong on defense.

football formations

Second tactic that I think would be interesting for RSL would be a 4-2-3-1. The defensive posture is again strong with Beckerman and Alvarez helping on defense, letting the RB-LB join the RM-LM on the attack but you also have a play maker. To me that would be Sebastian Velasquez. I think he fits the profile more than Ned Grabavoy because of his speed and movement with the ball and he has the ability to see between defensive lines for that killer pass to the FWR. Robbie Findley’s speed and Grabavoy’s control can help to have a little surprise on the wing to send crosses into the area where Alvaro Saborio is most deadly or cut into the 18 for a possible shot on goal.

football formations

The third tactic would be a 4-1-4-1; this tactic is more conservative. However, the wings and the speed are important with Plata and Velasquez using their speed and dribbling to take the deep line to send crosses for Saborio or even Grabavoy or Grossman that could join the attack from the middle. Beckerman would be doing his normal job by holding the mid-field and distributing the ball around, Beltran and Mansally can join the attack as much as needed because Grabavoy and Grossman can cover Beckerman’s position as he helps covering either RB or LB position when they join the attack. With this formation you can give more freedom to the attacking midfielders knowing that you have 3 MC ready to cover positions or join the attack when needed.

football formations

For Sunday night we all know that Jason Kreis will come out with the 4-1-2-1-2 that has been so successful for Real Salt Lake and most likely will be the same players you saw on Saturday on the Desert Cup Final in Arizona Rimando, Beltran-Schuler-Kwame-Mansally, Beckerman, Velasquez-Stephenson, Grabavoy and Findley-Saborio.

football formations

What would you like to see for Sunday’s game against San Jose Earthquakes?


4 Responses to “Talking Tactics: Let’s Play RSL Coach”

  1. Nussdorfer AC says:

    I would rather see Velasquez on top of the diamond and Grabavoy on the right.

  2. Chiquipelaez says:

    Sebastian told me that he was actually put at the top for the first time on Saturday so maybe Jason changed his mind and will put him there on Sunday vs San Jose … I personally hope so

  3. Indyfan says:

    I think a 4-2-3-1 would also be a creative and entertaining formation for a team like RSL.

    I also don’t see why a team doesn’t play a few different ways depending on who they are playing. It seems like this last season other teams were able to figure us out and shut us down. It seems like different formations work better than others depending on the situation.

    I also prefer Velasquez at the point of the diamond. Gill seems to have a lot of potential but I haven’t been overly impressed when he’s been the playmaker.

  4. Chiquipelaez says:


    i think Gil is an amazing player to switch the game around from left to right or right to left but to me he doesnt have the vision for that one pass between lines like morales and what i think Velasquez has but at the same time he is only 19 and the skills he has can only improve if he is surrounded by the right people which i think he is -Morales Gababoy Beckerman Saborio players with a lot of experiences- he can develop that skill but i see him more like an RM or LM or even a CM but not a CAM or Playmaker

    sometimes i do think Real should switch the formation a little during the game specially when nothing happens and we continue to pass the ball around with nothing happening, why? who knows maybe is because Jason doesnt have the experience that other coaches have and he is still learning a lot as he continues to be one of the best coaches of the league in my personal opinion

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