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Gerhard Struber's new formation is a breath of fresh air

photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein

The New York Red Bulls sadly dropped their opening season match on the road, by a penalty conversion that somehow is or wasn't a penalty, depending on who you ask. But while the result wasn't in the favor of the visiting side, something else was, and that was the brand new formation from Gerhard Struber.

It was in 2014 that former Head Coach Mike Petke switched up how to attack the opposition with a 4-2-3-1, and later refined a bit better from Jesse Marsch. We all saw how it benefitted Bradley Wright-Phillips by scoring over 100 league goals and over 100 goals in all competitions. Chris Armas, Bradley Carnell, and the current man in charge. 

But for the first time in a very long time, the Red Bulls began the match with two strikers and went into a 4-2-2-2 formation. For the majority of the match, the Red Bulls were successful in having their offense use this new formation to attack not just down the flanks, but down the middle of the park. They never faced a low block and caught the Orlando City backline napping.

So many chances they created that you felt they should've had one of them converted, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. But what we are seeing is something new with something old, A new formation with an old idea, and that would be the return of two strikers up top. This doesn't mean I'm against the old ways of the club or the Red Bull system, whatever works to get wins is perfectly fine.

But in reality, this formation was used before, but sadly scrapped during preseason under Jesse Marsch. In a road match against the Jacksonville Armada as Gonzalo Veron was paired up top with Bradley Wright-Phillips, but sadly he earned a bad injury during a great match before the 2015 season began. Seeing Struber finally using a new formation to reimagine the Red Bull pressing game gives an advantage for more attacking runs, but they need to convert goals to truly make this work.

While Tom Barlow, Elias Manoel & Corey Burke looked strong during this opening match with that new formation, the reality is that when Dante Vanzeir is finally acclimated and is fully fit to start his Red Bull career in MLS, then the number of goals could be a win for the club. Let's see what this season will turn into after this opening match.


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