Center Back Problems and Solutions

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

In viewing SKC fan comments about the last game against Chicago Fire, almost all of them were about blaming the "bad officiating." Yes, there were some bad calls - I didn't think Kronberg made enough contact to call the first PK, and it looked like Kevin Ellis was pushed in the box where we may have had a PK shout in the second half.

That said, blaming refs never accomplishes anything. Better to focus on what we can do to improve the level of play on the field. Let's face the facts: our defense was shocking until the final 30 minutes. We actually seemed to play better with 10 men than 11. Why was that? Let's just say that EPB's play was very very poor. I fault him for both PKs. In the fist PK, it was his man that slipped past him to create a 1-on-1 against Kronberg and Kronberg did what he had to do - close down the striker. So EPB, not Kronberg, was at fault. EPB was clearly at fault in the second PK. And then he got himself sent off. In a nutshell, EPB was at fault for both PKs and on top of that he was sent off for two yellows. Worse yet, EPB looked very nervous on the ball .

I don’t mean to be so harsh on EPB, but the truth is the truth.
EPB is only 17 years old, and should never have been put in that situation but PV had very little choice as EPB was the only true CB available.

So what have we learned from the Chicago game?
EPB should NEVER again be played in a 3 back formation (3-5-2). Those fans who have played footy know what I’m talking about and why I say this.
In a 3-back formation, EPB is much more isolated as the other 2 backs have some duty to their wide area.
In a 4-back formation (4-4-2 or 4-3-3/4-5-1), there are always 2 center backs paired together and those 2 stay very close to each other. That’s what EPB needs – another CB VERY close to him!

So the solution here, I believe, is to play with a 4-back formation. EPB is extremely young and this was a learning experience and he will improve. But if he does ever play again in the senior squad, it MUST be in a back 4 formation so that he has another CB very tightly near to him.

Ideally, that other CB would be Collin. If he isn't recovered yet, then with Besler and Olum out on WC duty, perhaps PV could try Rossell? If Rossell is still injured (?), then perhaps try Kevin Ellis? I don't know, i'm out of ideas at this point!

Incidentally, i’ve been harsh on Kevin Ellis in the past, but thought he had an excellent game maybe his best ever for SKC vs Chicago, so great job Kevin! That’s the way to do it – work hard and prove you deserve to be on the senior squad by playing hard and playing well. Kevin did that under the most difficult circumstances, even being played more as a CB than as a full back!

This post created by a member of The Blue Testament community. Opinions are all their own.

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