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May 5, 2010 at 8:28 PM

A stop and chat with Sounders FC defender James Riley

(On 4-3-3’s impact on defense) “The formation frees up the backs a bit more. The point of conflict is 15-20 yards higher up the field, which is good because we have forwards that can press that. So winning the ball in the middle third and our attacking third is going to create more opportunities for us, instead of having to defend all the way to our defensive third and having to go 70 yards to get a shot or cross on net. The point of conflict is a bit higher, which helps and aids that. Three dynamic midfielders help with that as well, with three dynamic guys up front. It just makes the overall team a bit more dynamic and offensive-minded. At the same time we still have our defense as our backbone.”


(On formation suiting your style) “Yeah, and it helps to be able to keep possession in the middle third and attacking third. It allows the team to breathe and make those runs and read those runs better. It gives me confidence to get forward. The same role is pretty much there, picking and choosing my times to get forward and not give up too much defensively on the break is always a focus.”
(On going up against high-powered L.A. offense) “Right now they probably have two of the most dynamic guys up front together, or working off each other in Landon and Buddle. And Buddle’s obviously scoring a lot of goals right now, so he and Donovan will be an emphasis. We’ll try to shut down service to them and try to keep compact and help each other. When he gets the ball it’s going to be an emphasis to get it off his foot and bump him and run with him when he tries to make a run, for both of those guys. We’re not going to change too much on the gameplan, but obviously there’s going to be some urgency when those guys get the ball.”
(On Landon Donovan coming in seemingly as the sidekick) “Yeah, very true right? But I think any of those two guys can hurt you on the day. And overall they’re a pretty well-balanced team. It should be a fun one on Saturday, they’re definitely playing really well right now, scoring a lot of goals and defending really well.”

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