Kansas City Current have shocked the NWSL in 2022, going on an incredible run of form at the end of the season to win or draw 17 of their last 20 games, and secure a spot in the playoffs where they now await the Final. Along the way, Matthew Potter has played some of the most tactically flexible football in the division, creating a team of workhorses ready to fight each and every day for the betterment of the team. They've not only played some of the best football this season, but have done so with one of the lowest budgets, and arguably the least amount of star power in their ranks.
In our latest analysis series: Game of Numbers, we break down the various tactical undertones of the modern game, most notably the roles that individual players hold on the pitch to help their teams explore avenues for greatness. This is Issue No. 8, currently featuring KC Current's Alexis Loera and VfB Stuttgart's Silas Mvumpa.
When we say 'Creative Ten', I'm sure you immediately conjure up an image of a classical painter of a player, who wonderfully creates art with their passing and incisiveness in the final third. But as has been well documented over the past few years, that type of player does not tend to exist in the modern game. The Mesut Ozil's, David Silva's and Cesc Fabregas's of this world no longer tend to exist as they once did, or play in the same positions that they once held. Nowadays, 'number ten's' must not only be capable contributors in the final third, but highly active in pressing from the front, and contributing to rotations that spread the width of the pitch.
In quite fantastic fashion, there is an abnormal representation of centre-halves on set-piece duties. Normally associated with banging in the goals from free kicks and corners, several NWSL teams instead have one of their centre-backs as a key taker of set-pieces. This begs the question we should always be asking in analysis - and that is...why?