Barca v. Chivas – observations

Monday, August 10, 2009 at 8:41am 

After attending world cup matches in Germany, the methods of arriving at Candlestick are embarrassingly antiquated. No train station, no subway, if there were Muni buses I didn’t see any. Just a slow crawl around the stadium to a $25 parking spot in the dirt, and an hour to get out. We have no idea how to get people in and out of a stadium.

Barca’s first half was a clinic. Eleven players focused on possession, patience and quickness in the final third. The vision of chess players, at top speed.

Continuous use of wide midfield players, with technical ability to hit them from anywhere on the field makes it impossible for Chivas to pressure as hard as they would otherwise have considered.

What is the big deal about Messi? He just runs past players. Brilliance via simplicity.

Defensive shape. Chivas — I think their coach must have wisely instructed them to stay back in their 4-4-2 and control the damage. A lopsided 0-0 at half time. Two rows of four in their defending third was difficult to penetrate. Playing two rows of four works.

The dribble. While continuous possession wears down the opponent over time, beating a player 1v1 sows panic and can unbalance the entire team. Successful dribbling can also create fouls, leading to free kicks, yellow and red cards. It can make the opponent more inclined to dive in but less able to, for fear of getting carded.

Substitutions disrupt the team. Chivas scores early in the second half after Barca makes 8 or 9 changes. Their quality didn’t drop (Puyol and Busquets come on), they just seemed to lose the flow they had going. Their inability to maintain possession allowed Chivas to push forward and get numbers forward for the first time in the match.

Having the game in SF added a touch of class to an already beautiful weekend. FCB stayed in the Intercontinental, next to my office. I saw three Chivas players coming out of Bloomies on Friday, arms full of shopping bags. If they had played at Pac Bell / ATT Park the craic would’ve been even better but I don’t think the 60,000 would have fit.

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