Romain Métanire is an experienced right-back who transferred to Minnesota United from the French club Reims in January 2019.
Earlier this month, Minnesota announced that Métanire had agreed to sign a new contract at the club, a deal which pleased the coach Adrian Heath. This scout report will analyse Métanire’s attacking and defensive strengths and the positions in which he is often found on the pitch.
Métanire is the first-ever Madagascan international to play in the MLS and this tactical analysis will analyse how he fits into Minnesota’s tactics.
Quality crosses and delivery
In 2019, Métanire provided seven assists and scored one goal. He made important contributions to Minnesota’s club record 53-point accumulation in the MLS last season.
Métanire is good at crossing the ball into dangerous areas of the penalty box. He often runs into advanced positions up the pitch to put his crossing ability to use.
In the example above, Métanire is on the right-wing where the ball was passed to him. He recognised that there was space for him to run into to contribute to the attack.
There is a large gap that he crosses the ball into for Ángelo Rodriguez to score. This example shows that Métanire can deliver the ball into key areas and help his teammates.
Métanire must cross the ball into space because the strikers can run to space towards the ball. The ball must avoid as many defenders as possible so the cross cannot be cleared away.
Minnesota often use a 4-2-3-1 formation with Métanire at the right-back. He regularly supports the right-winger in these situations. He can cross the ball while teammates such as Ethan Finlay can get in the box to try and score.
In the example above, Métanire is in an advanced position to cross the ball. This is a harder angle to cross the ball because there is less space in the box. Métanire showed his good crossing ability here even when faced with a difficult angle.
His crossing ability is important because the Minnesota players can expect Métanire to accurately cross the ball to them. This situation required an accurate cross that had the length to find one of his teammates.
The amount of assists that Métanire got for Minnesota in 2019 shows that Heath’s team use the full-backs for advancing into attacking positions. In this system, the full-backs are important both offensively and defensively.
Contributing from attacking positions
It is common in modern-day football for full-backs to move up the pitch and contribute to attacking moves. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are arguably the best attacking full-backs in the Premier League, they often provide assists for the strikers.
Métanire has a playing style that is similar to this modern approach and this part of the analysis will examine the attacking positions that Métanire takes up.
In each of these examples, Métanire is in a high position on the pitch and is playing in a similar role to a winger. Métanire is a confident player and his style of play is progressive.
In the first example, Métanire is on the edge of the penalty area and in the second example, he is running with the ball and plays a cross-field pass. Métanire has a wide passing range which is a beneficial asset to have.
This means that the right-back can pass the ball into space from different areas of the pitch and this helps his side to build dangerous attacks. This shows that Métanire is useful on the ball in different areas of the opposition’s half.
He possesses the passing ability of a midfielder and shows good awareness when running into space. His ability while in possession is important for the team because he is a useful option to pass the ball to and he can split the opposition with key passes.
Allowing crosses into the box
It is important to have attacking qualities as a full-back, however, it is equally as essential to defend well and stop the opposition from scoring. In 2019, Minnesota kept 11 clean sheets and conceded 43 goals, which was the third-lowest in the Western Conference.
Although Minnesota have a good defensive record, Métanire has before shown some defensive weaknesses despite his experience.
In the example above, Przemysław Frankowski is crossing the ball but Métanire does not attempt to stop him from doing so. Métanire must be closer to the winger and should not give him time and space to take actions.
The full-backs are responsible for preventing the opposition from scoring goals via the wings and they should make sure to block passes that go into the area. To help his team to concede fewer goals, Métanire must work harder and mark the opposition players so they cannot run into space.
In the above examples against Philadelphia, Métanire is defending the goal against the winger. The first image is the position where the winger picks the ball up and the second image shows that he has run inside towards the box.
On this occasion, Métanire has allowed his opponent to approach the penalty area without trying to tackle him. He has failed to block a dangerous attack and the winger crosses the ball into the box.
This part of the analysis shows that Métanire tends to allow the winger to run with the ball, as well as cross it into the box.
It’s an issue when a defender has a weakness like this since the opposition will deliberately attack down the side of the weak defender. This is an issue for Métanire and it means that Minnesota have to occasionally use two players to mark one winger.
A narrow starting position
Métanire’s tendency to allow crosses into the box is a result of his position on the pitch being too narrow. If he is stood towards the middle of the pitch, it will take longer for him to run to the winger.
As a team, they should organise in a way where the full-backs mark the wingers and the central defenders mark the strikers. If they emphasised these tactics, Métanire could close down the winger at an earlier stage.
In the example above, Portland are on the attack and pass the ball to the winger on the left. Métanire is standing almost in the middle of the pitch and is many yards away from the winger.
He is at a disadvantage when blocking the cross because the winger will have plenty of time on the ball. However, the example also shows a gap between Métanire and the rest of his teammates. He may have thought a narrow position was appropriate to prevent an even larger area of space from opening up.
This example also shows that Minnesota are not well organised at the back. Heath’s team qualified for the playoffs last year, however their defensive weaknesses stopped them progressing beyond the first round in 2019.
This situation requires better communication from the defenders to mark the opposition players correctly.
In the example above, Métanire is close to the winger and the rest of the defensive line is organised. They have prevented gaps from opening and Métanire is more urgent to defend the penalty area how it should be.
This is the type of defensive discipline that contributed to Minnesota’s impressive defensive record in the MLS in 2019. Each player is aware of where the opposition players are, Minnesota make it difficult for the opposition to score when they defend like this.
Métanire can attack in the same style as an attacking winger, his crosses into the box are dangerous and accurate. He is good at positioning himself in areas in which he can cross the ball.
He is versatile and has a good passing ability which is beneficial when building attacking moves. However, Métanire tends to allow the opposition to cross the ball into the box without trying to tackle them. It is a lazy attitude which can have a detrimental effect on the team.
Métanire’s defensive qualities are most evident when the rest of the defensive line is organised and working together. He is an important part of a team when going forward and defending.