Scoring Secrets of The Red Devils

To anyone who saw the recent Manchester U. v. Roma 7-1 blowout, it's impossible to not see the value of simply "pulling the trigger."  I'm thinking that Arsenal's Coach Arsene Wenger made the match 'required viewing' for The Gunners, since both of this season's EPL goals by young center-mid Farbregas' were scored within the week following the massacre at Old Tratford.  Thank you, Michael Carrick!!!!!

But as the father of 2 goalkeepers, not to mention Fabian Barthez's #1 American Fan, it didn't take a lengthy analysis for me to realize that this was also the ultimate case study on the importance of goalkeeper positioning.  Just check out the following videos from that inspirational match:

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These videos need no explanation, since the commentator are doing a great job there.  Good things can happen offensively when a goalkeeper gets out past the 6 yard box, and the players are expecting the goalkeeper to be playing that far out.  I'm thinking that Sir Alex had his team prepared to pounce on Doni's adventuresome  play.

Now, how can we encourage the keepers to play out that far on a regular basis?

In parts of the world where the game of baseball is openly played, it's no stretch at all to recognize that multiple playing surfaces can be a natural part of sports.

Photo Credit:  Shea Stadium, from Martin Frost's web site at:

The easiest way to reduce the effectiveness of goalkeepers is to dig up the "6-yard box" and fill it full of sand.

Here's an artist's rendering of what such a soccer pitch would look like:

Photo Credit:  Soccer Pitch with sanded areas in brown, originally in all green form in Martin Frost's web site at:

Image Credit:  Scotsman Martin Frost

The advantages are four:

1.  The careers of the goalkeepers will be extended by the fact that they can fall onto sand, which is much easier on the body than is turf.

2.  Since sand doesn't provide good traction, the sand will make the goalkeeper slower and less able to change directions quickly.

3.  The presence of the sand will encourage the goalkeeper to spend more time outside the six yard box.  This will open up the near post, and will make the keeper more easily chipped.

4.  While coaches will continue requiring field players to position themselves just inside the goal posts during corner kicks, the attacking team will be favored because any defender in the 'sand box' will be suffering the same loss of traction suffered by the goalkeeper.  This will allow more goals to be scored from field play since those players who are positioned inside the posts will be slowed in getting back out to resume their marking responsibility.

Here's a videos which helps to illustrate this last point:

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And for those who feel that it's NOT acceptable to conduct soccer tournaments under a markedly different rules set, the "sand box" affords a means to encourage an attacking offensive mindset without unnaturally encouraging one type of attack over another.

It's effectiveness can be easily tested in tournament conditions, and can be implemented in a matter of hours, and just as importantly, it can be pulled up and repaired in a short period of time.

Of note, I see natural middle ground here with the implementation of my 'sand box' idea in a smaller 3-yard or 4-yard box form, which will open up the near post more than enough to provide a clear window for near post strikes if the keeper chooses to position himself just outside the side the sand.

Again, the intention is to reduce the goalkeeper's effectiveness without increasing the size of the goal.  The intent is to reduce the effectiveness of a superstar goalkeeper to that of a much shorter and older man, while creating a friendlier environment for the keeper's long term health.

And to the goalkeepers and defenders out there, let me assure you that you will not look bad giving up 3 goals in a match if the league average is 3.75 goals allowed per match.

All the standards of success will be adjusted, but the important thing is insuring that the changes will be adequate to markedly affect the most important standard of all.  If the changes do produce more entertaining soccer, in short order the MLS will see an increase in interest which will vault it over hockey and baseball and basketball and football into the position of prominence here in America which soccer already enjoys elsewhere.


Mike "just some guy" Kimbro


Go to:     Visualize Higher Scoring Outdoor Soccer         Kimbro's Home Page       

Behold, the autographed photo of Fabian Barthez which resides on the wall of my son's bedroom.

Fabian Barthez...adventuresome by nature.

Image Credit:  The World Soccer Magazine, April 2007 issue, page 70, from the Paul Gardner article "Damn lies and stats", in which Paul takes a stand against set-pieces, somewhat reversing his earlier position of using a set-pieces count (corner kicks) to settle draws, which would no doubt have the effect of greatly increasing the occurance of corner kicks.

Quote from Paul Gardner...honest by nature.