Possible looks for a 4-4-2
Almost from the moment this rumor surfaced, fans were abuzz about a possible switch from the 4-1-4-1 formation that Hyndman employed for a highly successful 2010 season back to a more traditional 4-4-2, a look the gaffer admits is his preferred look.
The 4-4-2 is what he ran during his whole tenure at SMU and Schellas also tried to run it right after he took the FCD gig back in 2008; but after using it for the balance of that campaign, he just didn’t have the personnel to run that formation to complete perfection.
Now with the likely addition of Castillo, does that signal a shift into the 4-4-2? It could, but as of tomorrow the regular season opener with Chicago is exactly two weeks away, which isn’t exactly an ideal timeframe to implement a formation change, especially since this team has already been in preseason practice for just over a month. That doesn’t mean Hyndman won’t look at a switch later in the year.
Of course, the big question surrounding a switch to the 4-4-2 is which midfielder leaves in favor of a second striker? Well, judging from the current quagmire that Hyndman has on his hands in the linking mid role, that one is a no-brainer.
Eric Alexander might still get it together but Brazilian newcomer Ricardo Villar has been hurt for much of his time here and it’s hard to tell if he’s the answer since he hasn’t played much at all. Newcomer Andrew Jacobson could also be an answer but he’s more of a holding mid and adjusting to this spot could take some time. So, that leaves Hyndman to possibly push forward with installing the 4-4-2, a setup which could feature the following combinations up top.
Go Young: Castillo and Luna
This first scenario is probably the least likely of the three, at least initially. Still, this look could see Castillo and Luna paired together up top in FCD’s Wave of the Future Front Line or Strike Force of the Future to coin a term that Hyndman likes to use quite regularly in his rotation.
Luna, who just turned 19 in February, is the old man of the tandem as Castillo turns 19 later this summer. Ruben has made considerable strides in this, his first official preseason with the team. But the big question with him remains, is he quite ready for prime time? Only Hyndman is the final judge but it looks like he’s getting close.
Would Hyndman completely roll the dice and go with two young strikers up top? Considering how strong his midfield and defense are, it might not be that big of a stretch. However, this look is one that could come later in the year, especially considering how late in preseason Castillo is joining the club and that his acclimation process to playing under Hyndman and to his new teammates could take more than a mere several weeks.
Colombian Connection: Castillo and Rodriguez
One interesting yet very remote possibility is Hyndman pairing Castillo up top with fellow Colombian Milton Rodriguez. Sure, it would give the young South American a solid veteran influence and fellow countryman to learn from but this pairing basically bypasses Luna, who has clearly paid his dues over the past year, in favor of the Colombian newcomer.
Now if Castillo comes in here, outplays Luna and supplants him on the depth chart at striker, then fine. But everyone associated with FCD knows what an up-and-comer Ruben is. Castillo, no one is too sure about.
Sure, there is an immense upside but we won’t be able to get much of a read on him until we see him go through some training sessions and more importantly, game action with what figures to be his new club.
Old and Young: Luna and Rodriguez
If Hyndman does go with the 4-4-2 to start the year, this is most likely the combination we’d see. Luna has gotten to learn a great deal from Milton during his time with FCD and he also gleaned all he could from Jeff Cunningham during the 2010 season. Playing alongside Rodriguez would give young Ruben even more learning opportunities and this time in game conditions.
Luna has shown that he can play in a 4-4-2 with little to no effort but can the same be said about Uncle Milton? He hasn’t really played in a 4-4-2 during his time in Frisco, so were Hyndman to pull the trigger and go with the formation change, would Rodriguez be able to adjust on the fly to such a shift? Since he likely played in the 4-4-2, it’s a safe bet his acclimation period would be short but you truly never know.
Go Old: Galindo and Rodriguez
Then again, Hyndman could decide to go with his two most experienced strikers and pair Maykel Galindo and Rodriguez together up top. Of course, this would give the gaffer the chance to bring both youngsters off the bench, kind of as late-in-the-game energy guys who could help spark the attack in a tight game or as players who could help deliver a knockout goal with a late tally.
Should FCD sign Castillo, some might wonder if they’d still keep Galindo. Of course they would. Hyndman will most likely go with four forwards, a group that would include Castillo, Galindo, Luna and Rodriguez. He really doesn’t have much of a choice since this is the hand that’s been dealt him. While the pairing of Galindo and Rodriguez appears to be one of the least likely possibilities, there isn’t any reason to believe Galindo doesn’t make this team. He appears to be fit and he too could fill that role that Cunningham did so well in 2010 as a forward who can come on, use his speed to stretch opposing defenses and contribute some scoring late in games.
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