Learn 10 ways soccer teams lose games… I’m sure many of you will agree Defending & Finishing are the 2 ways to be successful in soccer/football. Yes, to win games you have to be good at both. To not lose games, you have to have a strong defensive unit. This means the whole unit from the forwards to the back line have to stay switched on the whole game. Think of all the games you’ve lost 1-0… A 0-0 tie is better, especially when you play a stronger opponent.
Soccer teams lose games from lack of discipline
Below I have listed 10 ways soccer teams lose games…
You can prevent more goals from being scored on your team by knowing these tips.
A while back I watched the #1 U17 Team in America play a match. My thoughts & perspectives on the game, including their defense is listed below, but lack of discipline plays a big role.
How your team defends every single second is key!
The game is 90 minutes, but if you’re not working 100% mentally and physically it only takes a few seconds to get scored on.
The hardest thing for a defender in soccer
First, here are some thoughts on what I believe is one of the hardest thing to do as a soccer player.
If you let your mark get more than arm’s reach for 1 second it could cost your team the game. Especially when your opponent has smart skilled players who can pass the ball between and over a good shaped defense.
The hardest thing for a defender is marking your man WHILE the other team is dribbling down the sideline. All when your “man” is on the opposite side of you running full speed.
The tricky part is you can’t possibly see your man and the ball all at once. The moment you turn to see your mark the ball could be crossed to your opponent for a goal.
Never forget when most goals are scored. If the whole teams remembers this, good things will happen.
The secret in good defense
The secret is you have to turn to see your man when the player with the ball out wide takes a big touch to run on to. This way you can turn back to see the ball before it is crossed.
At the end of the day, if the ball is crossed perfect there is no way to defend it. During this particular game the defenders playing against FC Dallas were not tight enough as the ball is crossed in. It’s usually 2 – 3 yards of separation.
[Tweet ” The hardest thing for a defender is keeping tight on your ‘man’ in the 18 yard box.”]
The reason I went to this game was I was assessing a player I’ve worked with since he was 10 years old. Now 16 playing for Solar’s U17’s top team.
I was excited before the game because I haven’t seen him play a game in a long time. He was playing against the #1 Team in America: FC Dallas.
The best youth soccer in the U.S.
After hearing & reading about FC Dallas Academy from different sources and reading this popular article by Randy Waldrum on the importance of continual Player Development it was time watch.
I remember Coach Waldrum saying that he watched FCD and how they are an exception to the rest of the country right now.
For those who don’t have boys or follow ages 13-18 boys, the MLS Academy is cream of the crop (same with ECNL for girls, currently). A few years ago the best for both genders was US Development Academy.
Of all the MLS youth programs and other clubs in North America, FC Dallas is producing the most talent. Their Pro team has signed several teenagers to pro contracts.
A few years back I watched Jesus Ferreira (played in Qatar 2022 World Cup), Paxton Pomykal, and Brandon Servania help FCD win the Dallas Cup Super-Group. These 3 teens were on another level. Not surprised they signed professional contracts later on. Pepi is a more recent player on the scene.
Several others went to Europe, see Bryan Reynolds signing with FC Roma in Italy.
The most home grown players signing pro are from FCD. They also had Chris Richards who signed with Bayern Munich. Bayern is consistently a top 5 club worldwide, so this connection is great for these youngsters.
The composure of the soccer team
For me, being a technical trainer, it was a treat to get to see the best U-17 boys play and see what they are doing as a team.
The whole team was very disciplined and every player was composed on the ball under pressure. It’s not like they were passing the ball around several times in the opponent’s half or dribbling around players. It’s more that they could finish well when given the chance.
So what I would say I learned the most in this particular game was that the defense has to do a better job as individuals. The score was like 5-1 but as you know sometimes that doesn’t reflect the way the game really went. Soccer teams lose games usually from a few mistakes in the whole match.
While this game did reflect the score, at the same time it could have been 2-1 or 7-1. I know that sounds funny, but if the opponents players would have marked up tighter in the 18 yard box, the result would be different. Once a game is 3-0, most teams give up. You have to keep fighting 100%.
You’re probably thinking, “Yea, that’s every game” but it’s really not if you think about it.
Almost all of these goals were from a long cross that would go to a player that was not marked tight.
Different ways soccer teams score goals
If every player is in good position and marked up in the final third of the field, their team will have a better chance to win. Everyone wants to talk about Skills Skills Skills but defending needs to be in the conversation more.
BEING GOOD TECHNICALLY & STRONG ON THE BALL IS ONLY EFFECTIVE IF YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME.
If a player is younger with the great skills then they will probably be able to go through all the defenders. But at the higher levels of play, players & others ***should*** know how to defend & this penetration of the defense should not be so easy.
This is especially as the kids get older or more organized. 99% of the time, an organized defense is going to have more players vs. the opponent’s attack.
You want to have at least 1 extra man while defending the attack.
A good team can kill you on possession but if you don’t let them get a shot off then you’ve got a chance.Everyone wants to talk about 'Skills!' but defending needs to be in the conversation more.Click To Tweet
10 ways soccer teams lose games
REMEMBER that the forwards are also defenders and play a big role in the defensive unit.
- Early Cross from outside the corner of the 18 yard box
- Corner Kicks (Lots of goals scored from corners)
- Combination down the middle of the pitch
- Dribbling through the defenders down the middle
- Dribbling down the line and crossing the ball in near the 6 yard box or end line
- Lazy Attacking Players (Forwards/Mids) who don’t defend leave the Defenders outnumbered. The Forwards are the 1st line of defense. When they don’t pressure the other teams defenders who have the ball, it’s not fair to the midfielders and defenders. So the WHOLE Team is a defensive Unit and must work together when the other team has the ball.
- Defenders or Mids lose an easy ball and cause a counter attack
- Defenders don’t mark tight enough before their player gets the ball which allows the opponents to be comfortable and turn
- Long balls down the pitch with poor defending (50/50 balls) causes the quickest goal because 1 pass can beat all 3 lines of defense. Bad positioning and defenders who can’t head or control are the 2 main reasons this happens.
- Fouls inside or outside the 18 causing free kicks
1 Common habit why soccer teams lose games
In the defending third or half of the field when the other team is connecting passes, the game slows down. When the game slows down the defenders relax more. This is where you start to see the defenders lose their mark. The defenders/mids are just not marking tight enough.
They need to stay in arms reach most of the time especially on the dangerous players who score or set up lots of goals.
Defenders need to ‘pass players on’ but stepping and covering faster is what I did not see in the U17 match. A good team will play zonal defense but this doesn’t mean you don’t get tight on your mark at the right time.
Correcting common defensive mistakes on the pitch
Team Coaches work on this or at least they should, so check if your coaches are helping in this area. I recommend you quiz your child on some of the topics on this page and make sure they are educated in this area.
The reason I write so much is to help the parents & coaches know more ways to communicate things that are not brought up to the players.
Team Coaches are going to work more on tactical situations because there is so much to learn, which is one reason at GFT we focus so much on the technical components.
You can also book your own ‘private group’ and we can put the players in game like situations and teach the things coaches are leaving out.
A key reason soccer teams lose games
Quick Fact: Over 75% of Goals are scored between the 6 yard box and the PK spot. This is not the time or place where you let your man get free from you.
Remember, most goals are scored because the scorer had space as they received the ball.
I hope this helps you guys prevent more goals from being scored and you win more games this season!
Our Most Popular Posts:
- 3 ways to strike the ball with power
- How to boost confidence in soccer
- 8 best 1st- touch drills
- Expert dribbling tips
- Goal side defending
Follow @GFTskills on Social Media