July 27, 2012
THE NUMBERS GAME
So, which does Backe go with on the Red Bulls? 4-4-2? 4-3-3? Or something else?
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Hans Backe: "Every team defends in a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2. Thereís no teams in a 4-3-3, thatís numbers. Itís all about how you allow your players attack."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. Ė The numbers donít mean much to Hans Backe. And it isnít points so far this season, goals scored, goals conceded or even substitutes used (or not used). It is how his Red Bulls line up to start the game.
With Thursdayís announcement that the club has agreed to terms with Australian international Tim Cahill, the Red Bulls coach has an embarrassment of rich and options for his Starting XI. Since acquiring Sebastian Le Toux in a trade two weeks ago, New York has started games with what might best be referred to as a version of the 4-3-3. Now with Cahill, Backe has to weigh if that option still works the best.
ďItís just numbers, if you look at numbers and playing style itís all about how you line up in the attacking game," Backe said. "Every team defends in a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2. Thereís no teams in a 4-3-3, thatís numbers. Itís all about how you allow your players attack.
ďIíd say we play a 2-4-4 probably, I would say so, just to be a little bit, how to say, arrogant. Because thatís the way we attack.Ē
It can be unsettling for a team to switch back and forth between formations since there is a lack of continuity and much of practice is spent working on shape rather than playing together and actual training. But midfielder Joel Lindpere thought that the switch can work for the Red Bulls and perhaps even be an advantage when matching up with teams such as Real Salt Lake that theyíve traditionally struggled against.
A new look Red Bulls would be a wrinkle that other teams would have to prep for.
ďI think, maybe itís a good thing because we play different teams and different style of teams and we know from the past the kind of teams we struggle,Ē Lindpere said.
ďWe need to learn from these things. We can say weíre top of the East but the season is not over.Ē
But there will clearly be a personnel shuffle involved. Backe said that Lindpere can be used centrally or on the left wing and the recently acquired Le Toux can play up top or on the wing in the midfield.
Le Toux has stated a preference to lining up as a forward but is on record as saying he will play the midfield if thatís what is best for the club. Backe saw the Frenchman as versatile and an asset, but he too thought that Le Toux was best as a striker. If thatís the case, then the Red Bulls would likely take the field with three strikers in Le Toux, Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.
ďWith his pace he can always test the back four with his pace,Ē Backe said.
ďIt depends on which players we have available. Heís done phenomenal as a right wing and Iíve seen that before so Iím not surprised. To use him in the best position is as a striker.Ē