FC Gold Pride and the Boston Breakers have played some of the most attractive soccer since the WPS All-Star Game on June 30. A lot of that has to do with the versatility both teams have showed in changing their formations.
The Pride, playing what was called a 4-4-2 formation on paper, clinched the regular-season title with a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday. But, as with any time FC Gold Pride steps on the field, players flow freely throughout the pitch, creating a dynamic approach that mimics more of a 4-3-3.
Similarly, Boston has found success with a very open, attacking system. The Breakers hit their groove early last month when
FC Gold Pride will host the WPS championship Sept. 26, but the team won't find out its opponent until just a few days before the match when the winner of WPS Super Semifinal is determined. If any significant changes need to be made entering the match, the regular-season champions should be ready.
"This year we have played a 4-3-3, a 4-5-2, a 4-5-1, a 3-5-2, and we have been successful for the most part," FC Gold Pride coach
Similarly, Boston's impressive attack allows the Breakers to stay in any match, as evidenced by two late goals in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Beat. Boston trailed 3-0 in the 86th minute, but Tarpley and Lilly struck to make things interesting and the Breakers were denied a third by some great goalkeeping from
Officially, Boston's lineup card read as a 4-4-2 on Saturday, but in actuality it was anything but that. The Breakers lined up in a 4-5-1 with
With the ability to play an attacking threat like Fabiana at right back and allowing her to overlap into the attack, the Breakers have offensive options from the back, forward. So, too, does FC Gold Pride as all four backs are offensive threats in their own way.
As mid-September rolls around and one game decides everything in the playoffs, teams that can score at any moment and play any formation like FC Gold Pride and the Boston Breakers should find the most success.
With that said, second-place Philadelphia and its traditional 4-4-2 formation should not be overlooked. However, if Philadelphia hits a wall and finds itself searching for answers during a game, it may have less flexibility than Boston and FC Gold Pride. Those teams will more than likely be the top three vying for the championship, so time will tell which tactical scheme will prevail.