Sporting KC a test of Martin Rennie’s tactical abilities

April 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 1 Comment

Martin Rennie has done a great deal to right the Vancouver Whitecaps’ ship for the 2011 season.  For one thing, he has all of the players in the squad facing in the right direction with the right attitude, including difficult characters Hassli and Chiumiento.  All of the players are looking fit and committed to the team.

Rennie has also proven he knows how to pick and arrange a team that can defend well (notwithstanding the meltdown against San Jose, which was the player’s fault, not his).  Questions still remain as to whether he is able to pick a team and run a formation which creates goals in Major League Soccer, however.

There are a number of things that differentiate the average teams from the excellent teams.  One such quality is the ability to execute key plays at the right times. Watching Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United over the years, I have been astonished at how many times his teams are able to score the right goal at the right time in the game.  I put it down to Alex Ferguson’s incredible tactical instincts, which have made him the single greatest football man in the history of the English Premier League.  Kansas City is looking like the Manchester United of MLS right now.

Sporting Kansas City is on a roll, having won their first six matches.  They have that ability to score at the right times.  They have scored 9 goals and allowed only one.  We have scored four and let in three. If Rennie and his Whitecaps are to beat Sporting, he will need to get his tactics absolutely right.

Given Sporting’s scoring ability,  Rennie’s defensive unit will have to go back to their former selves.  If Alain Rochat has healed enough to be considered, will Rennie risk playing him and possibly re-injuring him?  His influence was missed against San Jose, and if he was playing, we might have won that match.

Rennie must get better out of his attacking forces.  A resurgent Atiba Harris may just be the key to this.  He looked sharp against Philadelphia,  and has scored a couple in reserve and exhibition matches.  He is the man who has something to prove, and wouldn’t it be great for him to score against Sporting?  But where to put him?

Because of the quality of KC, Rennie may feel forced to lay two defensive midfielders Davidson and Koffie, in order to clog up the midfield.  I doubt he will want to start Thorrington, because I don’t think this is his type of game.

I am hoping for Hassli up top, Camilo on the right wing, Harris on the left, and Le Toux lurking behind Hassli.  Lets give Davide Chiumiento a rest and see if Harris can win us the match.  Harris can cover more ground, add speed to the line-up and will defend more than Davide.

Whatever the line-up, Rennie has tough choices to make.  If he plays too attacking a line up, we risk being embarrassed at home.  If he plays too defensively, the home fans won’t be pleased with another 0-0 draw.  I believe Rennie will start a more defensive team and hope for the 1-0 win.  Against a strong and confident KC, this would be a very good result indeed.


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  1. Well….. each team potted two goals — we just have to aim Bonjour at the right goal from now on.

    Doesn’t look like many of the incumbent attackers has really caught fire yet. Thought Hassli had a decent match, not great, but decent. Le Toux still finding the right place on field to score, and running like a horse under the whip. Tan’s stats look good for having only been in for 3 minutes officially. Harris tried, as did Dede, but both still have got to bring their A+ games.

    I’d really like to see Rennie bring in anybody other than Jordan Harvey at the back. Plain and simply, he’s a liability that the Caps can’t afford anymore. Yes, the attack stiil needs major retooling, but you can’t have a back line with three guys playing well 95% of the time, and one guy struggling to do well at 50%.

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