Dumb formation dooms Metro in Philly
October 16, 2010

Philadelphia New York
10.16.10 · League

Dear Hans Backe,

We had little to complain about this season. After last year from hell, the fact that Metro is in the playoffs and fighting for the East title is a welcome sight. But...

Drop the 4-5-1 (or the 4-4-1-1, whatever you want to call it). It... well, how should we put it lightly... sucks.

Today, we witnessed two completely different halves. The first, with Metro in a 4-5-1, was beyond terrible. Poor Juan Pablo Angel was isolated up front, barely touching the ball. Metro's stacked midfield failed to produce any time of attack, and was basically overran by Philadelphia. And two defensive breakdowns: one on a corner kick, the other on a deflection led to the goals by Fred and Michael Orozco and a 2:0 Worms lead at the half.

So Backe scrapped the formation at the break, deferring to the good old 4-4-2. Salou Ibrahim came in for Tony Tchani, Mehdi Ballouchy moved to the left, and Joel Lindpere to the middle. And just like that, the game changed. It only took Metro four minutes to score. Ballouchy found Danleigh Borman (starting for the suspended Roy Miller) in the box, and the South African perfectly placed the ball into the left side of the net.

Sadly, that was it for Metro. They couldn't break through, coming closest in injury time, when one corner kick was handled but not seen by the referee, and the other saw a Juan Agudelo shot cleared off the line. But the difference in play between the two halves was night and day. If only Backe started out with two forwards, East might have been clinched today.

As we have it, Metro will head into the regular season finale vs New England needing a victory to win the East the the home field advantage that comes with it. Here's hoping "Clever" Hans stops being so clever and stops tinkering.

Lineup: Coundoul, Borman, Ream, Mendes, Albright, Marquez, Tchani, Lindpere, Richards, Ballouchy, Angel. Subs: Ibrahim, Hall, Agudelo.

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