All About Alvarez - Part 2
those that don’t know, it is infectious how Real Salt Lake as a team has bought
into the coaches’ system. In San Jose and Dallas, Alvarez had unlimited freedom
on the flanks to get wide, to go forward, to attack. At Salt Lake, he’ll either
be up top or tucked inside a bit, and either way he’ll be asked to do a lot
more defensive work than he has been in the past when he was surrounded by Simo Valakari,
Brandon MacDonald, etc.
RSL, he’ll be able to relax and just play due to the numbers around him. The
infectious mentality at RSL has changed players, and allowed them to execute
precisely what is expected of them. The 4-4-2 diamond is a different formation
than most of MLS uses, responsibilities are clear, a very certain way how
midfielders are asked to play that diamond, with the understanding that they
have to have for each other.
I was with legendary U.S. National Team manager Clive Charles on the Olympic
team, we played in this diamond formation. The best thing about it is that no
matter what you are playing against, you know what the matchups are against a
4-4-2, a 4-5-1 or whatever your opponents are playing. It’s a clear-cut system.
Go back and look at the tapes of our games in Sydney, and you’ll see that Chris
Albright and Ben Olsen were wide midfielders on that Olympic team, and they
played tucked in as Will Johnson, Andy Williams and Ned Grabavoy do now for
RSL. We should have won the bronze with that team, but that’s a different story
for another time!
Alvarez, RSL has yet another player – like Saborio, Beckerman, Rimando, and several others - that know
what international competition is like. Alvarez is a Salvadoran national team
player, he can compete at highest level and that’s every player’s dream. This
is another player who knows the hostile environments throughout CONCACAF, knows
how to deal with bad surfaces, tense situations - just like Andy Williams does
- and knows how to succeed despite the challenges.
provides MLS’ deepest team even more experience, and now with RSL he has an
opportunity to prove that he is the player everyone has been expecting him to
be during his time in MLS.
Brian Dunseth on Twitter @BP_TOW or check out his soccer lifestyle hits
at TheOriginalWinger.com and BumpyPitch.com … He can also be seen on MLS
broadcasts on Fox Soccer Channel and Real Salt Lake broadcasts on KUTV 2 / MyUtah (2.2 over-the-air / Comcast 111 / Dish