For the majority of the season with the exception of the Philadelphia Union’s match against Sporting Kansas City, the Union have played in a 4-4-2 formation to start and then shifted to a 4-3-3 formation once they started to make substitutions.
So far Sebastien Le Toux and Jack McInerney haven’t done a good job of communicating together up top. Also Le Toux’s passing seems to have been sloppy lately and some of the Union midfielders have decided it’s smarter to try to run through the defense then playing a long ball up top. One of the long balls played to the forwards this year resulted in a goal. Keon Daniel played a beautiful ball to Sebastien Le Toux who scored. If the Union could do that more often, then they would be golden.
We also have to factor Connor Casey into the equation of figuring out which formation is best to play. Before the trip out west to face his former squad, the Colorado Rapids, he sustained a hamstring injury. He returned to action against the New York Red Bulls. He came on in the second half and scored off of a long throw-in from Sheanon Williams. He has been injury prone in the past, but when he is on the field, Casey finds a way to score.
If Casey can stay healthy, I think the Union would be best fit to play a 4-3-3. Put Danny Cruz on the bench, and start Casey. It might not necessarily be a 4-3-3, but a 4-3-2-1 formation might be best. I’m envisioning Le Toux up top and Casey and McInerney playing out wide, but not fully wide as a winger. McInerney is better playing in the center of the field rather than out as more of a winger.
Anyway, it seems like the Union have found more success in a 4-3-3 formation than anything else so far. Antoine Hoppenot is another great option to use as a sub up front and brings speed and physicality to the field. Hopefully, the Union will implement the 4-3-3 formation from the start of the games rather than when they make its first substitution. Offensively, it seems to have paid off so far this season playing in a 4-3-3 formation. Either way, I don’t think the Union will stick with one formation for a whole game and definitely not for the whole season. There are just too many players that can make an impact at different times for this Union squad.
What are your thoughts? What formation should the union use? Feel free to comment below.
Phil Naegely is a Soccer writer for RantSports.com. He also writes about College Basketball, MLB, NASCAR, and NBA news. Like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @afriendofgod512 and add him to your circles on Google.