A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps

A New Season Means A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps finished the 2021 season on fire thanks in part to a switch in formation to a 3-4-1-2 with Ryan Gauld playing that elusive number 10 role. With a new season upon us and Vanni Sartini taking over the permanent reigns of the team, it seems like we might see a new 3-1-4-2 formation for the Whitecaps.

Vancouver has played the first 3 matches in a predominately 3-1-4-2 formation with Ryan Gauld playing a lower role on the pitch and a number 6 playing above the back 3. After last season saw Brian White and Ryan Gauld do so well together I think Whitecaps fans just expected Vanni would roll out the same. The head coach spoke to the media Tuesday about what we could see this year. It might not be what you expected!

Why The Change In Tactics After Minimal Turnover And Ending The Season So Strong?

The Whitecaps ended the season under Vanni Sartini with 7 wins 5 draws and just 2 losses and had very minimal turnover, So why the tactical change? Head Coach Vanni Sartini mentioned inverting the midfield.

“No, no, the main reason that we do it is to actually to the first one is to be more offensive. So in this way, we’ll have the two number eights that they’re going to participate more while before we had only one of the two sixes behind Ryan that was going so now they’re both of them, and they’re going to attack the channel on the strong side. So not bringing too much our striker to play. Wide and having one player more close to the goal. So that’s the best area.”

A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps | Sports Talk Line
A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps

It seems like the Whitecaps want to keep 2 dangerous attackers on the pitch up top without sacrificing anything in the middle of the pitch. Players like Micheal Baldisimo, Leonard Owusu, and Sebastian Berhalter could provide an attacking threat without giving up anything at the back. When asked if the formation suits someone like Baldy more Vanni Sartini said.

“And the two main midfielders the two main central midfielder suits him less than the three men central midfield is when he can play as a six and he can be sometimes even the little quarterback has a number six. So I hope that this change is going to also bring more confidence in him and more and more.”

Caio Alexandre could also be an option for the Whitecaps but right now it seems like it would only be on the road. Caio is still dealing with his Canadian work Visa and will remain in the United States when the team returns to Vancouver Wednesday.

Gauld, Cava and White Could Be A Rotating 3?

Does this mean we could see a rotation up the top of Lucas Cavallini, Brian White, and Ryan Gauld? From the sounds of the Gaffer that could be an option for the squad moving forward. As Vanni mentioned he never really has a starting 11 but more of a starting 20 and we could see a variety of things this year.

A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps | Sports Talk Line
Will We See Ryan Gauld Up Top This Season?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s not it’s really hard to make predictions at the moment. You know, Ryan is a player that is a good player. He can play that he can play as an eighth of course, if you play him as a striker, you lose a little bit in the build-up because he’s very good [at] helping the team building up. If you play him as an 8, we hope that we’re not going to limit the fact that he can attack the space like he did last time as a 10 and [score] goals.”

He would continue if moving Gauld to a more attacking role would limit the things he was able to do in the midfield. He also stressed the change might limit all of the running around that Ryan Gauld had to do last year with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“The other thing is that when we defend in this way our pressure can be done, I would say on the left side on the right side without the number 10 Like it was Ryan last year, running 40 yards left and right and being very demanding for him defensively. So we think that in this way we can cover the field better defensively and have more, more, more opportunity to occupy the box when we are attacking the final third.”

Does A 3-1-4-2 Formation Make Sense For The Backline?

The very short answer is, yes, yes it does. As much as every CB loves to dribble the ball well past midfield and get a scoring chance. The Whitecaps stayed pretty safe at the back. The 3-1-4-2 allows the wingbacks to provide the extra touch of offense and spread the pitch. They don’t have to worry as much about the defensive assignments if they know they have 3 center backs and a holding midfield behind them.

I asked Florian Jungwirth what he thought about playing in a back 3 formation and if it is something he is comfortable with.

“Yeah, we did very well, last year. We’re a second-best team in the league. So why should we change that? I think we changed it mid-season, which you know, was [as] it’s a change because when you have a preseason, you can work on that but we change it but we adapted very quick and very successful system. So I think many had a good sniff on that, that that system might work better for us than the previous one, and it did work out now. It’s just shaping getting working on little details. And that’s why we’re here for.”

It looks like the backline is on board for a new 3-1-4-2 formation for the Whitecaps. Only time will tell what Vanni Sartini decided to go with for that season opener but we could see something like this…

A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps | Sports Talk Line
A New 3-1-4-2 Formation For The Whitecaps

Sports Talk Line Network And The Vancouver Whitecaps

The regular season kicks off on Saturday, February 26th against the Columbus Crew. The Whitecaps will play an inter-squad match, Team Blue vs Team White on Saturday, February 19th. The match is open to fans but you must register for a ticket beforehand. The home opener is set for March 5th as the Caps look to start the season off on a strong note in front of the home crowd.

Make sure to check out the Sports Talk Line Network all season for more Whitecaps coverage. The 90+ Podcast will have two episodes a week to break down the match that was and look ahead to the next opponent with some great guests. Listen to episode 62 right here as Ben and myself break down our training camp battles, look ahead to preseason awards, and more!

And of course, make sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 for the latest news and updates all year long as I cover the team from BC Place Stadium!

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