New York City FC, Best Performers
Five of the New York City FC’s best XI in 2019 all averaged more than 7/10 in their regular-season performances, including the entirety of the front three. All three of their main attacking options scored double-digit goals in 2019, tallying 38 strikes between them, along with adding another 14 assists.
Alexandru Mitrita just came home as the side’s top forward, scoring twelve times in 29 appearances, along with three assists, in his first season in the league. Brazilian forward Heber was the top scorer with 15 goals, while Valentin Castellanos bagged 11 times.
Despite all three bagging double-digit goals, it was Maxi Moralez who was the outstanding performer for New York City FC in 2019, racking up 20 assists over the course of the regular season. Ronald Matarrita was the fifth man to average more than 7/10 across the campaign.
This lateral and longitudinal flexibility that the half-space affords his players is important because it allows Deila’s team to play to Deila’s preferred method of attacking: fast-paced, aggressive, and fluid. Having control over half-spaces facilitates this method of play as it allows multiple runs to be made the team as a whole.
Knowing that the half-space is in control, the attackers can start making early runs and play fluidly to be involved in combination play, knowing that they will already have their creative players in this key space.
In addition to facilitating his style of play, control of half-spaces also allows Deila to pry open the central space.
The first method/step in accomplishing this goal is by constantly switching flanks. At his time at Vålerenga, Deila had his players constantly looking for long, diagonal switches of play. In addition to these general switches, which were often made by deeper players, Deila’s tactics also accompany short switches of play. A short switch of play involves when central midfielders took a generally concentrated play and spread it out to the winger.
While many teams do this as their secondary method for attacking, Deila uses the spreading out of play as the first step for attacking. Switches of play allowed his team to take control of wing scenarios where 1v1 situations would be set up.