US Men’s U-23 Winning Barcelona-Style

Caleb Porter, the USMN U-23 team coach, is implementing a possession-attack oriented offense at the US Men’s U23 levels.  He is also currently the head soccer coach at Akron, a college soccer powerhouse.  While our senior team has beaten Mexico before, we seldom do it while dominating possession.   His system is based on possession, attacking, and pressing.  Sounds like Ajax in the early 70s or Barcelona today.  Ives Galarcep, a senior writer for and a person who covers the MLS and the US National team, wrote some nice pieces about Caleb Porter and the style of play he teaches.  He quotes Porter:

“I think everybody’s scared to attack, and scared to play, and scared to have the ball and not score, and scared to press…I think if you just take the easy way out and you sit behind the ball and defend, that’s the easy thing.  That’s what everybody’s done and tried.  I’m going to try something new, something different, and I’m confident that it will work.  He continued: “To play this way you have to be technical. To play this way you have to want to have the ball. . . You basically have to have 11 guys on the field that are comfortable on the ball. Eleven guys on the field that are comfortable with pressing. It takes a well-rounded player, but I think there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be effective.”  You can add the word “here” after “effective” to add emphasis.

Here is another gem:  “The essence of this style is that you are the deciding team. I would rather be the deciding team and be proactive and go into a game trying to control it than to flip a coin and sit back and hope you can hit a team on the counter. . . We need more of that because we’re not helping ourselves by just defending and destroying and sitting back. Even though you can win that way, it’s not going to help grow the sport.”

Wow.  I seriously love this guy.  If you have read any of the postings on this blog, you will know I prefer a possession-based soccer attack.  The new US Youth Soccer Coaching guidelines also favor it — as I have noted and published here.  It is great to see our national teams winning with possession.

Porter’s U-23 men’s team recently beat Mexico’s U23s handily 2-0, dominating possession.  Yesterday, they handed Cuba a 6-0 defeat while starting their qualifying run to the Olympics.

Here is a link to Galarcep’s pre-Cuba game article:  And here is the link to the post-Cuba 6-0 win article:  In the Cuba game, the US out shot the Cubans 7-1 (on goal) while also recording 17 goal attempts to the Cubans 4.

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