Featured / Union

“It will be a fluid system”: Nowak talks tactics

Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak answered questions from the media during his weekly conference call on Wednesday. He wasn’t pushed very hard during the thirty minute question-and-answer session, and it may be that both the media and Nowak were on their best behavior after a slightly contentious session last week. Questions about Greece and how the players are getting along dominated the first half of the discussion before any questions about personnel, performance, or tactics came up.

Nowak was quizzed on the progress of the young players. Jack McInerney was singled out for his play in Greece. “Jack has been very good the last ten days from all aspects on the field. He makes good runs, that’s his bread and butter.”

Chris Agorsor also appears to be coming along well, although Nowak said he still has some catching up to do. “He’s still catching up in the technical part. He did very well in the game we played in Crete and really encouraged with his performance. We need to work on the tactical part because he wants to be involved in every single play.”

Moving on to tactics, Nowak confirmed that the team intends to play a fluid system again in 2011. In some capacities it could be a 4-4-2, but in others in could morph into a 4-3-3. He noted that the players needed to be able to adjust to the game as it develops and respond to their shifting responsibilities without looking over at the bench. When asked about Le Toux’s role this year, Nowak said that it was a tough question to answer because of how much Seb likes to move around. He added: “If players enjoy the game the way I encourage them to enjoy it, everybody will be happy and score the goals as well.”

He also hinted that he would continue to experiment with players out of position this year (somewhere in Greece Amobi Okugo pencils himself in as a center back), mentioning specifically the Barcelona match against Arsenal where players played out of position (Sergio Busquets scored an own goal from center back, but otherwise played well).

Getting specific (or, as specific as he gets) about what he’s looking for in terms of team improvement this season, Nowak said that the Union made the mistakes of a young team last year and it led to the types of goals that young teams give up. “If we can cut by 30-50% those goals then of course it will be a completely different season,” Nowak said, “At some point in the season you are going to be mentally fragile, you are going to be tired. You have to learn how to stay fresh and stay healthy. We have a lot of young guys this year and basically the new signings. You have to find a way as a coaching staff to help them.”


  1. Josh Trott says:

    Argh in pirate voice to that. I hope a detect a sarcastic tone regarding the comment on Busquets- and that’s with the most amazing midfield in the world in front of him! Someone tell me we’re picking up a couple of defenders, and not intending on using our midfielders when a hole appears.

  2. Two things worry me. The likely continued use of the 4-2-2-2 and all of this moving people out of position.

    They drafted MacMath, who by all accounts will be a fine player, but there were defenders out ther that could have contributed NOW. But instead, to address the defesnsive issues, they are moving guys around.

    I hate the 4-2-2-2. At best it can be balanced, at worst it is shapeless with players playing undefined roles.

  3. “Fluid” sounds like a way to avoid describing an actual plan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *