Unbalanced Rhombus Push Left?

I'm planning to do a more thorough "match preview" on Friday, but I just wanted to pose some questions raised by the possibility that both McTavish and Janicki will be sidelined against the Fire. With Fred and Quaranta still on the shelf . . .

(1) Do we stick with the 3-5-2? It didn't look good in the early going last week, but started getting more solid as the game progressed. Still, when the Massive Head Trauma Incident occurred things fell apart. Now, was that entirely down to the system or to who was missing? Do you trust Burch in a back three? Me neither. But what other options do you have? You could go with four at the back, but who are your center backs? Jakovic plus . . ?

(2) Who are your wide midfielders? Wallace certainly did enough in the second half to merit another shot, but who goes on the right if McTavish can't? With Quaranta out of the picture, I think you're looking at either the Bearded Bombardier (if he's able to go) or Boyzzzzzzz. Personally, I'm not sure Benny has the gas or the wheels to get the job done on the flank in a 3-5-2, but Boyzzzzzzz doesn't offer as much defensively. With Mapp likely to be operating on Chicago's left, we'll probably need some help for Namoff.

(3) What happens up top? Pontius was promising, but he's competing with Jaime for that spot. Also, I wasn't terribly impressed by Emilio last week and was wondering if some time on the pine would be a good thing.

Which leads us once again into the land of idle speculation. Anybody else feel like giving the roster a shot? For my money, if Janicki can't go, I see too many holes in the 3-5-2. Hell, I'm not convinced three at the back would be the smartest way to take on Chicago even if we had clean bills of health all around. My whiteboard would look something like . . .


And I shall call it . . . the Unbalanced Rhombus Push Left! Or that's what I'd call it in Football Manager. Gomez and Moreno have the freedom to exploit space on the attacking right flank with Olsen moving up in support but not flinging himself forward constantly as he has more defensive responsibilities and is pinched in slightly. Two big boys in the middle of defense to fight McBride for headers. It's not perfect, and there are alternatives. I like having Namoff at right back to keep Mapp in check, but he could also move inside if we don't trust Peters. Likewise, it may be wise to pack the midfield a bit, perhaps by bringing in Jacobson for Pontius and playing Jacobson-Simms-Olsen behind Gomez? Could Pontius and Moreno play up top together despite playing a similar game?

So what do you think? Does Tommy stick with the 3-5-2? Would you? How would you line up against Chicago? Have your say in the comments.


  1. I am coming around to the 3-5-2. Better to have both Olsen and Simms helping Jakovic clog up the middle than two in-experienced center-backs. I like the idea of Wallace on the left flank and Namoff on the right. Pontius could take the left wing and Khumalo could be the right wing. Gomez is the attacking mid and Emilio and Moreno are up front. Jacobsen can spell Ben when he's given us all the minutes he can. N'Silu and Doe are available as subs up front and we can use Burch or Barklage if we need somebody on the wings. That leaves Peters as the defensive sub and Burch if we really need him.

  2. I think you'll see Emilio and Pontious up top with moreno coming on as a sub and Wallace on the left flank with Burch at left back and Peters and Jakovic in the middle, and probably boyzzz on the right flank.

  3. There's nothing interesting about this, and I don't really trust Burch in a back three either, but I think we'll see this:


    With Pontius as the first guy off the bench.

  4. Ding ding ding!

    We have a winner!

    I was laying down what I'd like to see. I think Rob nailed what we're going to see, even down to Tommy's tactical MO ("There's nothing interesting about this").

    The only thing that might change would be Pontius for Moreno since we have Jaime saying he didn't know why he didn't play against the Gals as he felt fine.

    Which brings up another point. What the hell is going on with Tommy? Your captain and most senior member of the squad doesn't know why he didn't play? Shouldn't he be in the loop? Let's add this to the Goff-rant, stir, and ponder Mr. Soehn's future with the club, shall we?

  5. FB- If we go to a more standard 4-4-2, I think you're more likely to see Khumalo on the right wing than Olsen. Obviously Boyzzz doesn't have McTavish's defensive capabilities, but those aren't quite as necessary when we've got four defenders instead of just 3. So I'm fine with Pontius on the left wing also to allow Moreno back into the starting XI.

    And my backline?

    Yes, Burch returns to the middle! Now I'll step back and duck as you all throw tomatos.

  6. Pontius and Moreno are not similar in any way. Pontius has got what it takes. He is one of the few that can actually make a run through a backline. Also, can anyone tell me why that ugly goal from seattle was MLS goal of the week over Pontius' goal. Pontius' goal was sick!!!! and it was in his home town on his debut....nuff said!

  7. @Shatz - Sure, Khumalo is your man from an attacking perspective, but a midfield combo of Pontius, Gomez & Boyzzzzzz leaves Simms with an awful lot of ground to cover defensively. I think you need at least one other of a midfield four to offer him some help defensively. If the rhombus tilts right, that could be Wallace on the left, if it tilts left, I'd go with McTavish or Olsen. Even with four defenders, especially ones without a ton of experience, it's imperative, particularly against Chicago, to challenge possession in the midfield and not allow time and space for the opposition to pick their runs and passes.

    And yes, my tomatoes are ready and quite rotten to boot. I'm sure I can find some other decaying vegetable matter to fling in your, and Tommy's, direction should Burch start in the center of defense ;-).

    @latest Anonymous
    (1) Pontius may not have Moreno's vision, but in other ways they seem to be quite similar--they like to take on defenders on the dribble, both rely upon technique rather than physicality, have an eye for goal (good to see Pontius' pre-season scoring wasn't a fluke!), can keep possession in tight spaces with a combination of strength and guile, and neither are blessed with breakaway speed (any more, in Jaime's case).
    (2) The Seattle goal was important more for its context than for its style. Of course, it also helps that the new kids on the block (Seattle fans) are sowing their wild oats by stuffing the ballot box. Also, if Pontius had been challenged in the least, there's no way he gets the time to place that shot. And even though it was a fantastic technical goal, I still don't think it would have beat out Cooper's, which should have won by dint of its combination of audacity, technique, and sheer novelty.