In the summer of 2018, Tristan Blackmon joined the Los Angeles Club. After loaning two seasons, he returned to Los Angeles and became a crucial player in the LAFC.
In this tactical analysis in the form of a scout report, we will show you the strengths of Blackmon and his role in Bob Bradley’s tactics. It is an analysis of the performance of Blackmon in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The below graph sums up the strengths of Blackmon in different domains. Blackmon playing in a team focused on possession. The American has an 80.64% pass success rate this season. Meanwhile, there are two very high numbers that you should pay attention to. Blackmon achieved 6.67 interceptions per game in half of the opponent’s. The dribble’s success rate of Blackmon is also high at 62.96%. We will investigate the above traits with game examples in the coming sections.
Here is the heat map for Blackmon this season. As you can see, he can play as a centre back. However, the different thing is that he is not an ordinary full-back. Blackmon is occupying the middle field and half-spaces.
It is true that the Los Angeles Possession rate is 60.37%, but the club plays in a direct manner, and the high Possession rate is due to the counter-pressure applied by the Bradley team.
This image from the Los Angeles and Philadelphia match shows us that Los Angeles loses the ball after 33 seconds, but only retrieves it in 30 seconds. This means that the Los Angeles team is playing a direct manner.
This system requires several characteristics, speed, skill, and playing without a ball. Full back Blackmon possesses these properties, and this makes him an essential player on the Bob Bradley team.
During the build-up phase, Blackmon is positioned behind the opponent’s first pressure line, to give an additional pass option for centre-back players.
In this picture, Blackmon is positioned behind the opponent’s first pressure line, and Los Angeles can eliminate five players off with one pass.
After that, Blackmon tries to use his speed and dribbling, to reach the final third and penetrate the opponent’s defence.
Blackmon performs 3.13 dribbles per game, with a 70% success rate. Also, he is a distinguished player in 1v1 situations, who uses his ability to Dribble intelligently.
In this picture, Blackmon towards the depth, this way the pivot player cannot mark Rossi, thus LAFC creating 2 vs 1 situations on the side.
In this case, the Philadelphia player tried to reduce the space between him and Blackmon, but Blackmon handled the situation well and raised the ball over it, Thus the Los Angeles attack continued.
In this case, the Philadelphia player tried to reduce the space between him and Blackmon, but Blackmon handled the situation well and raised the ball over it. Thus the Los Angeles attack continued.
The nature of the player is consistent with the style of his team’s playing as well. Blackmon has a direct playing style. This fits with the ideas of Bob Bradley and the MLS.
Blackmon always prefers to play front balls and accelerate the attacks of his team. He plays 19.44 forward passes with a success rate of 79.6%. Compared to only 4.38 back passes per game. This is a vast number.
In this picture, he plays a forward pass between Philadelphia players, although he has many safe options. But he preferred to play a forward pass and eliminated five players from Philadelphia.
This is a map of progressive balls for Blackmon. You also see 206 progressive passes since the start of the season, with a success rate of 76.2%. That is 11.9 passes per game.
His progressive passes and dribbling ability make him an important player in the playmaking. And one of the most important players in the Bradley team.
Bob Bradley developed an attacking style based on sides (I explained this in my analysis for Los Angeles). In short, Los Angeles is trying to create a numerical advantage in the sides, dragging the opponent’s players, after which they benefit from the spaces that appear.
Blackmon deals well with the areas that appear. For example, in this picture, a Vela dragging the fullback of Philadelphia towards the deep and Blackmon moves quickly towards the area that appeared on the side.
In this picture as well, Rodriguez pulled out the full-back of Philadelphia, and Blackmon moved towards half-spaces.
This feature makes him a key player in the Los Angeles team because it corresponds to its main goal.
One of the most important strengths of LAFC is counter-pressure, and Blackmon is the second player in the MLS in recovered balls in the opponent’s half, with an average of 6.72 balls per game.
Blackmon always tries to retrieve the ball into the opponent’s half. Here instead of pulling back, moves quickly to the deep to press and retrieve the ball into the opponent’s half.
This map confirms that he retrieves many balls in the opponent’s half.
Blackmon does not make a lot of defensive interventions, but he makes up for that with the interceptions. The American player makes 5.48 Interceptions per game, and is the most significant full-back number in the MLS.
The reason why he makes so many Interceptions is his intelligence, Blackmon always precedes his opponent by one step, and expects his next step.
In this picture, Blackmon closes the pass channel, and his body position makes him able to retrieve the ball, in case the opponent decides to head towards the side.
In this example, Blackmon predicts where the opponent’s cross will fall and moves quickly to intercept it.
Blackmon is also useful in 1 vs 1 situation and uses his intelligence to outperform his opponent’s. He learned this from counter-pressure exercises, which require concentration and intelligence.
Here he closed the option to pass to the box and forced the opponent to go in the deep, and there he will be pressed by three players.
Here, Blackmon directed his opponent towards the side and pressed him to receive the ball.
Blackmon played several games as a Centre-back. But the question is, can he do well in this position?
In this position, the team will benefit very much in the build-up phase. For example, he leaves his position and advances in the empty space to help his team advance the ball.
Here Blackmon plays a forward pass under pressure, and a counterattack of Los Angeles begins.
But the problem is in Defensive duels, the player often loses physical struggles, which puts his team at risk.
For example, Blackmon loses his defensive duel with Ibrahimovic, and LA Galaxy creates a 2v1 situation.
Blackmon is a good full-back, which fits Bob Bradley’s ideas, he is useful in the offensive, and defensive phase, his partnership with the former Arsenal player Vela is terrific.
He is a young player, and he can get better in the coming years. I think Ligue 1 is suitable for its characteristics.