Replacing Alejandro Diaz at Pacific FC

Following the loss of eventual CPL Golden Boot winner Alejandro Diaz, Pacific FC immediately went from title contenders to top four contenders, scraping into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish come the end of the season. The repeated line as the likes of myself and CPL.ca wrote about Pacific became all about how things could have been very different for Pacific in front of goal had they only had that missing link. Diaz was everything to the Pacific attack, acting as both a 'False 9' capable of dropping deep and receiving the ball, and somehow even fulfilling duties as an occasional 'Target Man' despite his 5'10 height. He linked up with Marco Bustos and Manny Aparicio magnificently well as the three of them dovetailed around each other, and his desire to drop deep often allowed Joshua Heard to run into the vacated space behind. Pacific signed Electric City striker Jordan Brown to try and make up for the loss, but it was clear that Brown was a far less dynamic player, and far less clinical in front of goal. With that, we analyze the essential characteristics in need of replacing when it comes to Diaz and his game, and four possible replacements from around the globe.

Game of Numbers – #3 – The Evolution of the Target Man

Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it's becoming more difficult to quantify 'Target Men', recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as 'Target Men' for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the 'Target Man' in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.

Why Alejandro Diaz caught the eye of Sogndal Fotball

Devastated. Alejandro Diaz is one of the most exciting, flamboyant, energetic, tactically intelligent, heroic figures of the Canadian Premier League, and has been for the past few seasons since joining Pacific in 2020. It's amazing to see the Mexican forward achieve a massive move to Norway and their 1. divisjon. But Diaz helped build something … Continue reading Why Alejandro Diaz caught the eye of Sogndal Fotball

Aribim Pepple – Player Analysis

Cavalry FC started the season without a bang. They went winless in their first three matches, scoring just two goals, as Joe Mason and Myer Bevan failed to fully live up to the hype up front. After a change in system from 3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1, Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s team started to see more stuttering success, and the team achieved greater fluidity across the board. At exactly the right moment, Wheeldon Jr. introduced Aribim Pepple into the lineup, and soon afterward, Cavarly hit top gear. The 19-year-old has been in incredible form in the past month, scoring 6 goals in 7 matches en route to being named the CPL’s Player of the Month for June. His stuttering form in front of goal has even reportedly earned himself a move to England, the details of which are still being finalized. Here is our analysis of Pepple and his impending move.

Bethany Balcer – Player Analysis

Out of all the 'Target Women' around, Bethany Balcer might be one of the very best in the modern game. Frequently used as an outlet for progressive passes, Balcer's back-to-goal incisiveness remains a threatening endeavour for her team, and one that is frequently useful in advancing OL Reign up the pitch. But now, after the arrival of Jordyn Huitema, Balcer's even upped her scoring game, ensuring Huitema has very little room to work with in stealing a spot in the squad at the start of her Reign career. Here is an analysis of Bethany Balcer's exceptional hold-up play, and the vast array of traits that make her one of the best forwards in the NWSL.

Why Jordyn Huitema is perfect for OL Reign

After excelling for PSG in France, Canadian youngster Jordyn Huitema appears to be days away from making a return to North America, where she will ply her trade as an important member of OL Reign's attack. News broke on Thursday thanks to The Athletic's Meg Linehan, following Reign's recent signings of veteran Tobin Heath and Arsenal's Kim Little on loan. Expected to be more of a long-term signing to improve upon Reign's attacking horizons, Jordyn Huitema provides the perfect mix of pace and pizzazz to Laura Harvey's team. Here is why Jordyn Huitema could be set to ignite the NWSL on fire.

How Diogo Jota scores so many headed goals

The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?

Why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for Juventus

Toward the end of the January transfer window, Juventus swept in with a big money move for Dusan Vlahovic, finally securing themselves a Cristiano Ronaldo replacement. The big Serb has made a name for himself in Serie A with his stunning run of goal-scoring form, bagging 38 goals in 58 matches for Fiorentina across the past two seasons. But Vlahovic doesn't just offer a team goals, and that is precisely why Juventus worked so hard to secure his signature at the end of January, for a hefty €82 million fee. Here is why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for The Old Lady, and an adequate replacement for one of the game's all time greats.

A set-piece routine that will guarantee goals

Set-pieces are vitally important to the modern game, with a high percentage of goals being scored from set-pieces in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A this season. However, we are a firm believer in giving players creative autonomy and freedom to make choices in football matches. Allowing them to have a voice in attacking set-pieces is the perfect spot to allow them such creative input, as set-pieces can often be so different to everything else the team puts together in their formation, style of play and game model. With that said, we want to help your team score more goals from set-pieces, especially if you're going through our game model examples, only to see that we don't focus all that much on set-pieces. So with that, here is my favourite corner kick routine, which can easily be used at both the senior and professional level.

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 VFL Wolfsburg – Tactical Analysis

Guts, gusto and gifted talents galore: Eintracht Frankfurt's clash with VFL Wolfsburg was a seismic occasion in the race for third place, and did not disappoint - not even for a second. Not only was it a seven goal thriller, but you'd do well to find a match with more energy, heart and determination than this electric fixture. Both teams were full of spirit right from the very first whistle, and never slowed down. This is a Tactical Analysis of Eintracht Frankfurt's important win over VFL Wolfsburg on Matchday 28 of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season.