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Tactical Breakdown: Orlando's Back Line Woes Continue in Loss to Seattle

What went wrong with the back line in the 3-1 loss to Seattle Sounders? A look into some of the issues that the Sounders were able to exploit.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kreis has been committed to improving the defensive shape for Orlando City. Even with this focus, Clint Dempsey, the most dangerous player on the field, scored all three goals for Seattle. It is hard for me to believe that Dempsey wasn't part of the pre-game scouting report, and the focus of Seattle's attack.

Since Kreis has taken over, Orlando City's shape has been more compact, which forces teams to play around or to the outside of the back line. New England didn't find too much success as Orlando was able to have timely goalkeeping and kept dangerous situations to a minimum.

Seattle was able to exploit the outside on the two first goals. The problem Orlando City had on Sunday was that the Lions were very compact, but the outside backs did not go out and deny services inside 18 yards. This was combined with the center backs chasing the striker as he made runs to the near post, which were dummy runs to create space for the secondary run of Dempsey.

On the first goal, Luke Boden does okay to go out and contest the service but the center backs are unaware of U.S National Team player Dempsey. Jordan Morris' run to the near post grabs the attention of both Seb Hines and David Mateos, which is the key to Dempsey being left wide open.

Kreis commented in the post-game press conference that he felt his team was playing a trap. The second and third goals showed the back line stopping almost 40 yards from goal. This allowed well-timed runs by Morris to get behind the back line with plenty of space.

The back line held its line too high, which allowed for too much space. Keeper Joe Bendik can't be too far off his line because if he does he is able to be chipped. The back line should be dropping back further, allowing Seattle to play in front of them in a less dangerous area 30 yards from goal.

Seattle's two forwards were able to dissect the back line with ease on Sunday night.

"From a tactical standpoint, we're still working," Kreis said following the match. "It's gonna take some time."

This is going to still be a process; tactical and positioning changes do not occur overnight. The team shape and back line will be tested as next match we should see the MLS debut of newly signed transfer José Aja. This is the time to be patient as Orlando City supporters, as we need to allow Kreis to teach his style and get the type of players he needs to run his style of soccer.