A lot of teams have issues with defending.
But there is something very unusual about HOW we're struggling.
A disproportionate number of our goals are coming when we're in position and ready. Many teams that play a possession-oriented attacking game struggle to contain the counterattack, as players have to improvise defensively within wide open space to slow down the break long enough to get people back in position.
But since we've started playing more of a possession game, we've actually been pretty decent against the counter (I'm not going to count the LA game right after Spencer's firing).
This last game (3-0 loss to Colorado) was the epitome of our defensive struggles. None of the three goals came on true counterattacks. The first was off a throw in. The second was on the buildup, though the final combination did start farther back. The third was on a set piece.
But the common them in this game was that ALL OF THE GOALS happened with our players in position, seemingly ready to defend from within what should be their comfort zones.
To me, that is an unusual problem, and should be easier to fix than a tendency to be unable to kill the counterattack. But we haven't fixed it over nearly two years now.
So what does this mean?
Was it Spencer?
Is it Gavin? And has he had enough time to work that out yet?
Or is it the players? Is it possible that this is just a perfect-storm bad-luck reality of having had a large percentage of our midfielders and defenders over the past couple of years having a tendency towards ridiculous mental lapses?
Obviously, it plays out with the players on the field. But to what extent their frequent mistakes is entirely on them, and to what extent they haven't been given proper guidance by their coaches, or the system sets them up for these mistakes, I'm not so clear on.
I tend to think this is an ongoing coaching issue, though I'm not sure that GW has had adequate time to address it and see marked, permanent improvement---I think he's been mostly offense focused, but is moving increasingly towards adding the defensive part.
Only time will tell if GW can have more success at pulling these issues together than Spencer did, but ultimately, what really matters is if Caleb Porter can do it next year, since he's going to be the permanent guy.
But I could be wrong---all of the scenarios I mentioned above seem like legitimate possibilities to me. What do you think?