Creating and Exploiting a 3 v 2 Soccer Formation
We have, rightly, advocated the use of rondos in many of these blogs. To remind everybody, a rondo is a drill set up with an overload, so for example, a 5 v 2 practice, or 3 v 1. These are brilliant because they retain an element of competition while allowing enough space for players to really develop the skill they are working on.
Of course, a rondo has another use. It can practice what we try to achieve in a match. In a 1 v 1 or 2 v 2 situation, the defense will usually win. But overload the attack with extra players, and the balance of power shifts.
These youth soccer drills here demonstrate ways to create and utilize a 3 v 2 overload in a match situation.
3 v/s 2 Soccer Formation Examples
Soccer Formation 1: Creating the Situation
Defenses will try to overload in their favor, so the following tactical set up can be created in small group games. The position should be explained to players, roles allocated and explained, and then the game should be played with teams seeking to create the overload identified below.
The whites here are defending, they have left one player forward with another withdrawn striker. The defense has two players marking the one striker, and a midfielder watching the withdrawn striker. The aim is to draw this player forward, along with the full backs, while whites get a third player forward at speed.
To achieve this, wide midfielder drops deep, allowing full back to get forward. The solid banks of four ensure that this pressure can be absorbed. On transition, the ball is brought forward, drawing the black defensive midfielder forward while a third white accelerates beyond the ball. Once the defensive midfielder has been drawn out, the pass is made into the 3 v 2 situation.
Soccer Formation 2: Three v Two Down the Middle Drive
In this drill we see how to maximize opportunity when the third player is attacking with the ball in the center of the pitch.
Here, the player with the ball works hard with the ball, traveling at speed. This presents a problem for the center halves, who need to decide whether to challenge play or stay marking their strikers. The best ones will back off slowly, without committing to a tackle until the chance of the player dribbling and shooting effectively becomes too great. By then, the defense feels that there is insufficient space behind them for a pass to be especially dangerous, and one will close the ball.
In the drill, the player with the ball drives slightly towards one team mate, who pulls slightly wide. At the same time the other team mate pulls very wide. The player with the ball has three options now:
- Drive on and shoot;
- Play a pass inside one defender for the widest player to run on to and pull back’
- Pass onto the player running less wide for a shot.
The final option is the most likely to lead to a goal, but also the hardest to complete.
The drill should operate several times, so players can practice all options.
Soccer Formation 3: Three v Two Down the Middle Pass
In this drill, once more the ball breaks through the middle. This time, the forward players both break wide. The ball is played early, and the passer runs on past the ball, as does the other forward who did not receive the pass. One defender will have to move wide to pressure the player now in possession, meanwhile this creates a 2 v 1 in the center of the pitch, which should lead to a shot on goal.
Soccer Formation 4: Three v Two Target Man
This time, the ball has been played long up to the central target man. He receives the ball with his back to goal, and lays the ball off to one of the supporting attackers, then turns and gets into a scoring position.
The player with the ball then has even more time and space to choose his options.
Again, practice the drill many times, with the ball in the air, along the ground and into different parts of the pitch, so that players are in the best position to make good decisions when the situation emerges in a match.
Here’s a few more 3 v 2 drills that you can use.
There are many ways of exploiting three versus two situations. The key skills to remember are:
- Move at pace;
- Create space for others by moving wide;
- Don’t lose confidence if a goal does not result. You can’t score if you don’t try!
If you liked this post, you’ll like our post on 1-on-1 soccer training methods.
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