This week I reached out to our readers to find out what they wanted a tactical breakdown about. We got the following response.
First off, this would be a nice situation if we acquired Paulo Henrique Ganso or Antonio Nocerino for Orlando City. It would provide added depth to the central midfield, which is needed. We also know that Orlando City would also need to make a move for an international slot to make it work. We will take a look at each player and their tendencies, how they might affect Kaká in his role, and how we think Head Coach Adrian Heath should utilize him.
Paulo Henrique Ganso
Ganso is a central midfielder who is more known for his passing and retaining possession. He isn't a shoot-first player. In fact, his style of play is very similar to Kaká's. Ganso will look to keep the ball in the midfield and make passes that will draw the back four out of shape. He does not do well on shaping in crosses or winning 50-50 duels.
Kaká and Ganso on the field at the same time would mean that there would be a lot more freedom in positioning between the two players. Kaká would still stay in the central position and Ganso would be on one of the wings. Kaká would look to have central combination passes with Ganso to create an extra pass to pull the other team out of its defensive shape.
The positioning throughout the game would be interchangeable. There will be times in the match where Ganso will come more central and Kaká will go out wide. We have seen this at times last season from the Brazilian, as he will start to attack the outside back to set up a striker for a goal. Ganso's ability to create possession and find good passing lanes may open up Kaká more as a goal scorer, as there would be more opportunities for him to get behind the defense if he's not having to orchestrate things.
Tactically, Adrian Heath has options to tinker with in his formation. He could pivot to a 3-5-2. We have the outside backs to play the formation and this is a shape about clogging the midfield and owning possession. Ganso and Kaká in the midfield would possess the ball and be able to play out of a crowded central midfield.
But Heath would most likely stick to his 4-2-3-1. This would put Ganso on the right wing with Rafael Ramos playing right back. Ramos' ability to get forward would cause Ganso to be more central for an outlet to switch the field. This is in contrast to how Carlos Rivas plays the outside midfield position, as he looks to get beyond the back four. He has Luke Boden or Brek Shea to support him and both players look to serve balls in and are better to keep possession.
My opinion is if we are playing a team where possession is going to be paramount to winning the match, Ganso would be on the field. The other way we see Ganso on the field is if Heath wants to give Kaká a breather and limit the minutes he plays. The captain isn't getting any younger and Ganso gives Heath an option to rest Kaká and not lose the possession that the former Ballon d'Or winner brings to the field.
Nocerino is a more of the opposite of Kaká and Ganso when it comes to style. He is a shoot-first type of player and he is going to get aggressive with his tackles. In his prime he was a box-to-box midfielder. He has more pace than both Ganso and Kaká, and he won't be a defensive liability. Sometimes his tackling can get him into disciplinary problems and some of his shots will frustrate the fan base. He is most dangerous when making runs to the weak sides to catch weak-side defenders out of position. He also is an excellent striker of the ball if the opposing team cannot clear its lines.
The problem is his form has hit rock bottom. The above scouting report is if he is playing up to his ability. Nocerino is 30 years old and possibly has lost his confidence. He has been invisible in the few games he has played for AC Milan. It is time for a change and MLS might be a nice place to re-energize his career.
Kaká gets defensive support with Nocerino on the field. Nocerino will work back, which will allow the Brazilian to move further up the field. Kaká would have the ability to make more overlapping runs, take on more defenders, and make more runs into the box with the cover that Nocerino would provide. Nocerino wouldn't be a replacement to Kaká, as he doesn't retain possession as well. Kaká also gets a late streaking option on the weak side.
Nocerino in the 4-2-3-1 would most likely be used in any of the midfield positions. I think he would best be utilized as a defensive midfielder. Nocerino's style is more offensive than a Darwin Ceren or Cristian Higuita. He'd provide more numbers forward into the attack, which would be necessary if Orlando was pushing for goals. If Nocerino was starting in the attack, I would see him in the outside midfield position. This would allow the backs to get forward and Nocerino's defending would minimize the probability of a team countering. The other option is to change the formation to a 4-3-2-1. This could have Ceren, Higuita, and Nocerino as defensive midfielders. The attacking midfielders could have Kaká combined with Shea, Rivas, Ganso, or Molino, to create more space for the attacking midfielders to play in and give the outside backs more cover with more defensive midfielders. This formation wouldn't be too far-fetched as Kaká played in this system in AC Milan and Heath experimented with it last year with Ceren, Higuita and Servando Carraso all on the pitch together.
Both Ganso and Nocerino are excellent options to provide depth in the central midfield. Orlando City had issues with players going in and out of the lineup last year. Kaká isn't getting any younger and bringing in a player that could give him more rest and not sacrifice as much quality on the field as in the past with the captain out is a smart idea. The question is...Ganso or Nocerino?
My opinion is that Nocerino has more upside. His form is in decline, but if he can rekindle it he can play almost any midfield position in Heath's system. The transfer window is almost half done and we are still waiting to see if we will get one of these central midfielders.
If you have an idea of what you want tactically broken down, leave a comment below or tweet me at @bpetkus