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“You can be my wingman anytime”

With Tyler Blackwood’s return, Republic have a real attacking option along the touchlines.

Joseph de Ocampo/Indomitable City Soccer

A constant for Sacramento Republic FC the last few seasons has been the sight of Elliot Hord and Shannon Gomez way up the field putting in crosses and cutbacks for the club’s forwards to get a hold of. We even saw a spectacular goal from Hord this season as he cut in from wide and pulled out a laser cannon from his pocket.

The problem with having two of your four defenders out wide 3/4s of the way up the pitch is lack of cover once the ball is turned over. And this being the USL, that happens a lot. Forcing your central midfielders to then race out wide to cover the gap your attacking fullbacks have left now clears out the center of the park for an easy counter attack.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your wide attack came from an actual attacker rather than a defender? Tyler Blackwood has played up top as striker in the past, but I think he should be used almost exclusively out wide as a pacy, powerful winger. His size gives him an advantage against typically small fullbacks.

His speed means midfielders can play through-balls in behind opposing defenses for someone other than Cameron Iwasa. His goal-scoring threat will hopefully pull defenders towards him opening space in the middle for central attackers.

Width is so important in soccer. The creation of space and then movement within that space allows for greater control of the ball, and your opposition. Blackwood will hopefully open up more options for the Republic in the attack, while simultaneously allowing for a better defensive shape from the rest of the squad.

What do you think? Are you happy to have Blackwood back? Leave a comment below!