Intense counter-pressing was one of many key tactical themes underpinning the Kansas Metropolis Present’s run to the NWSL Championship. Their penultimate common season sport towards Washington Spirit was a great instance — they swarmed their opponents in transition and utterly overwhelmed them. Washington had been damaged by half-time, the score-line was 3-0 and it may have been extra. Nonetheless, towards the Portland Thorns, Kansas Metropolis’s irresistible power bumped into an immovable object.
It didn’t assist that the Present took some time to get going. They went one-nil down inside 4 minutes, with an Elizabeth Ball error letting Sophia Smith in to spherical Adrianna Franch — as she has rounded a number of different goalkeepers this season — to attain into an empty internet. The state of the sport modified there after which, and with vital penalties. Kansas Metropolis had gained simply certainly one of 11 video games the place they conceded first. Portland had not misplaced a single sport after opening the scoring, they usually wouldn’t right here both.
Primarily, Matt Potter has constructed the Present right into a high-tempo crew, one which counter-attacks persistently and successfully. However going behind so early meant that his gamers had been those chasing the sport, and that dynamic doesn’t fairly swimsuit counter-attacking sides. Nonetheless, there was a number of the sport left to play, and there have been different causes that Portland got here out on high. Their dominance in attacking transition was the massive one.
Entry the perfect ladies’s soccer protection all 12 months lengthy
Begin your FREE, 7-day trial of The Equalizer Further for industry-leading reporting and perception on the USWNT, NWSL and past.