Home / World News / Recent Rapids signings signal radical change in team’s method of attack – The Denver Post

Recent Rapids signings signal radical change in team’s method of attack – The Denver Post

With the acquisitions of English midfielder Jack Price and Mexican wing back Edgar Castillo, the Rapids are filling out the positional needs they have to deploy in a radically different formation this year from what their fans are used to seeing.

There are three key components to the philosophy behind the team’s switch from a traditional four-man back line to a 3-5-2: Playing with three center backs rather than two, they can be supported by two wing backs who are attackers but possess defensive skills to assist in the back, in addition to the use of two strikers instead of one.

“I just think it’s a system where you can have a good amount of numbers both in attack and defense, and you’ve always got a good structure with and without the ball,” said the team’s new coach, Anthony Hudson. “And the biggest thing is, I love playing with two strikers.”

In order to make it all work, the team plans to add one or two new center backs and one or two new strikers. Rumors are rife in England that the Rapids are hot to sign Ipswich Town center back Tommy Smith.

“We’re certainly not done,” sporting director Padraig Smith said Monday at a team event staged to introduce Price and Castillo. “There’s still a lot more to come.”

Two key pieces in the plan are already in place. Castillo will man the left wing back position, and Marlon Hairston is a perfect candidate to be his counterpart on the right. In fact, it’s as if Hairston was being groomed for this switch with the way the club has utilized him in recent years, and his emergence as a force has been noticed elsewhere. Hairston was called to a U.S. national team training camp this week.

“I think the call-up is more than deserved,” Smith said. “The sky is absolutely the limit for Marlon. We think he can be a fixture on that national team for years to come.”

Hairston, perhaps the fastest player on the team, has been used at fullback and as an attacking midfielder in recent years. He figures to be a major beneficiary from the switch to a 3-5-2.

“He’s got the ability to defend, but we all know what he’s like going forward,” Smith said. “He’s provided goals and assists. I think the timing of his runs is something that has really improved over the last couple of years.”

Hudson has discussed his philosophy with Hairston, who has been studying video of wing backs playing in 3-5-2 systems, among them are Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Manchester United’s Ashley Young.

“I’ve been watching a few teams like Chelsea, Juventus when they play, Tottenham plays it sometimes, even Man U plays it sometimes,” Hairston said. “Just guys who I can see myself playing like in those positions.”

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