Someone got the word to Colorado Rapids about a formation that shuts down the Houston Dynamo. It didn’t work until it was too late.
The Colorado Rapids did their homework before taking on the Houston Dynamo in June 9 MLS action. Their 5-4-1 formation promised to stymie the Dynamo’s offense. It didn’t work until into the second half and the damage already done.
Five-defender formations should only get used in BBVA Compass Stadium emergencies in MLS play.
Similar to their U.S. Open Cup game a few days earlier, the Dynamo faced five defenders on the backline. That helped the Rapids to block shots and clear many crosses, given the extra personnel in the defensive area.
In the Open Cup game, North Texas Rayados used five defenders to keep Houston away from the net for an entire half. With MLS starters playing, Colorado Rapids couldn’t get the same effect.
The Rapids haven’t used a five-defender formation all season. They also hadn’t used a formation placing only one striker up top. The result each time has nuked the visiting team’s offense.
How the formation failed
With only F Yannick Boli up front, Colorado got off only two shots. Boli didn’t make either of them! M Jack Price took an on-goal shot. After subbing in, M Bismark Boateng got off the second one.
And this time, it didn’t stop Houston Dynamo in the first half. But not exactly for failure of the formation against the Dynamo’s 4-3-3.
M Johan Blomberg took on a lot of the hard work for the Rapids after the team started the first four minutes out of sync. The defenders kept their net blockaded and Blomberg started pulling off interceptions and dispossessions as the Dynamo approached.
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In his enthusiasm, he fouled Houston D DaMarcus Beasley, setting up a distance set piece. As M Tomas Martinez dribbled the ball in, clearance attempts failed one after the other until G Tim Howard kicked the ball out.
Martinez sent the rebound skimming into the left-bottom of the goal.
Blomberg again fouled Beasley. This time, F Mauro Manotas lobbed a penalty kick left into the net.
The Rapids had no choice but to make offense adjustments at halftime. In the first-half stoppage time, striker Boli pulled a straight-red card for hands to Houston D Leonardo’s face.
The Rapids kept their defensive scheme working in the second half. But Houston helped kill off any new attempts at opening their offense. Neither team scored in the second half.
So the five-defender plan to stop Dynamo offense hasn’t won on any level of competition in the Houston stadium.
That’s a signal for any other visiting team’s planning to try that scheme. Be ready to make effective adjustments or you risk getting shut out. Any formation that kills both team’s offenses puts the user’s game in peril.