Armchair Analyst: One big question for the San Jose Earthquakes

A Big Question: Will they man mark?

Matias Almeyda is the reigning Concacaf Coach of the Year, and the most successful coach Chivas have had in half a century. In his three years in Guadalajara he won five trophies – once in the league, once in the SuperCopa, twice in the Copa MX, and once in the Concacaf Champions League (you remember that one, I'm sure).

He won all this despite leading a Chivas team that was almost always beset by turmoil from within and unrealistic expectations from without, and that was hamstrung in terms of recruitment by their Mexican-only player policy. It's not entirely accurate to say he did a lot with a little, since Chivas have a gigantic budget. But it's probably accurate to say he managed what he did while taking some unusual hurdles relative to what the rest of the world endures.

And he came up with an unusual solution: Chivas were almost exclusively a man marking team under Almeyda, a true throwback to the world as it existed before Arrigo Sacchi.

I'll admit that I don't know whether or not this was a tactical wrinkle born of necessity, or is actually his preferred approach (I recall nothing of either Almeyda's River Plate or Banfield sides, both of which he led to promotion in Argentina). What I suspect, however, is that we'll find out very quickly in preseason whether the Quakes will mimic what Chivas did, or play with a more familiar, zonal scheme.

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