With MLS nearing the end, LA Galaxy hosted Seattle Sounders. Seattle Sounders wanted to maintain their first place in the league, while LA Galaxy needed a win that would bring them close to qualifying for the playoffs.
Even though the LA Galaxy lost the match, they played well, and they deserved to win. However, some small details caused them to lose match points.
This tactical analysis will look at how Seattle Sounders won the three points despite the LA Galaxy’s impressive performance.
LA Galaxy – 4-2-3-1
LA Galaxy played their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. There were some changes due to the busy schedule. However, the most important players were present, such as Jonathan dos Santos, Lletget Sebastian, and Javier Hernández, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player.
Seattle Sounders – 4-2-3-1
The same thing, the busy match schedule forced coach Brian Schmetzer to make some changes in the team. He put forward Raúl Ruidíaz on the bench and put Will Bruin in his place.
Joevin Jones’s injury in the previous match made him miss yesterday’s match. This is why Cristian Roldán was positioned as a right-winger, and Gustav Svensson played as a midfield player.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto vs middle block
The average PPDA for the Seattle Sounders team this season is 13.43 per game, but against LA Galaxy that number increased to 16.16. This height was due to the beautiful ideas that coach Schelotto had put into place during the build-up phase.
Schelotto’s tactics in the build-up phase made the LA Galaxy team easily bypass Seattle’s pressure, not only that, but these tactics made it easier for him to penetrate the opponent’s box.
The wonderful thing is that Seattle Sounders applied many tactics in pressure, but coach Schelotto always had solutions and made his team always ready to break any pressure applied by the opponent.
Moreover, the coolest thing is that he always had an emergency solution. Meaning, even if his team fails to break through the opponent’s box after breaking the pressure of Seattle, they will be able to keep the ball and continue the attack.
Without further ado, let us start by analyzing Schelotto’s beautiful ideas during the build-up phase.
Because of the goal scored by the Seattle Sounders team at the start of the match, their coach chose to abandon the idea of applying high pressure. He preferred to play with a middle block and prevented LA Galaxy from passing the ball on the deep.
This was the idea of Seattle Sounders coach Schmetzer. He tried to make his shape narrow to block all passing options in the deep, so he could direct the LA Galaxy team towards the sides, which are the easiest area to press and recover the ball.
Coach Schelotto quickly solved this problem, asking winger Cristian Pavón to Move towards depth. Of course, the full-back cannot mark him because he will leave much space on the side. In this way Pavon, he can receive the ball in the deep easily.
This was forcing Seattle Sounders winger Roldán to go deeper. In this case, Emiliano Insúa will be in a 1v1 situation, and Roldán will not be able to catch up in time.
For example, in this picture, Pavon drags out Roldán with him; in this way, the LA Galaxy team created a 1v1 situation on the side.
Even if Insúa failed to dribble Kelvin Leerdam or failed to penetrate the opponent’s box, the LA Galaxy attack will not stop. Because the winger will move towards the side to help full-back, at the same time, the pivots will be in the deep to protect their goal, and the wing will keep free, as shown in the picture.
For example, in this picture, Pavon can receive the ball without pressure, and he can switching play without problems.
When the ball is moved to the other side, there will be a full back, a pivot, a winger, and a playmaker. This means that the LA Galaxy team has an excellent opportunity to penetrate the Seattle Sounders box.
LA Galaxy vs high pressure
Schelotto’s tactics, which made his team able to break the defensive structure of Seattle Sounders, forced Schmetzer to advance and pressure the LA Galaxy defenders.
Once again the smart tactics of the LA Galaxy coach made the club able to break the high pressure applied by their opponent, Seattle Sounders.
Schelotto’s idea was to destroy the pressure structure that Schmetzer had put in place. By preventing the opponent’s players from assisting the attackers while pressure is applied.
This picture illustrates Guillermo’s idea. He asked the playmaker and one of the wingers to position behind the opponent’s pivots, at the same time the striker remains in front to fix the opponent’s centre-back. In this way, the opponent’s pivots cannot advance to pressure Dos Santos and Corona.
The idea of Guillermo made Seattle Sounders pressure useless because Dos Santos and Corona have become free and can overcome the pressure applied by the forwards.
For example, in this picture, Dos Santos and Corona create a numerical superiority over Marcelo Lodeiro, and the ball holder has two passing options.
If one of the Seattle Sounders pivots advances, the playmaker or LA Galaxy winger will be able to receive the ball in the opponent’s half without pressure.
For this reason, the Seattle coach asked winger Roldán to move deeper to pressure Dos Santos and Corona to annoy them a little.
But this idea did not work, because Dos Santos and Corona would get space that would enable them to play a long ball towards Insúa the free.
After the ball reaches the free full-back, LA Galaxy will be able to use players who are positioned behind the opponent’s pivots, like this one.
LA Galaxy and flexibility
Flexibility and exchange of positions are one of the most important strengths of the LA Galaxy team, this feature helped them a lot against Seattle Sounders . It made them able to create opportunities and more possession of the ball.
In this picture, for example, the ball carrier does not have any passing options, but playmaker Lletget retreats, and there is a solution, and thus LA Galaxy can possess the ball in the opponent’s half.
In this picture, Chicharito pulls the pivot of the opponent, creating ample space for Lletget in the deep. This means that the counterattack can continue.
Seattle Sounders attacking phase
We did not see many offensive methods from the side of Seattle Sounders; they focused on exploiting the mistakes made by their opponent. Brian Schmetzer tried to take advantage of the pressure applied by the LA Galaxy team, and create opportunities through it.
The LA Galaxy team was applying high pressure with a man-to-man marking system. Coach Schmetzer took advantage of LA Galaxy pressure and put some tactics that saw him score two goals.
This picture illustrates the idea of Schmetzer; he was trying to drag the LA Galaxy pivots forward, at the same time he asked one of the wings to position on the touchline to fix the opponent’s full-back. In this way, he has acquired a very large area at the deep. In addition to this, he has three players in-depth; this number makes him able to use this space.
As stated in this analysis, the LA Galaxy team is already capable of creating chances, but in this match, they have failed to convert these opportunities into goals.
This problem has to be solved, because the league is nearing the end, and they are currently 11th.
On the other hand, Seattle Sounders achieved a significant victory that kept them in the first place.