Our Match vs FC Barcelona – U13/14 – MIC Cup 2015

FC Barcelona vs Chivas USA infantil MIC 2015In pursuit of world class, one better have some grip on what that actually means.

And that, I think, requires going beyond your domestic soccer bubble, especially if the standard for world class does not reside there.

Winning an American league or tournament, no matter which you want to cite, does not give you a good gauge of where you’re at. In fact, it can give you a completely false sense of what your true level is.

  • Playing domestic teams off the park, no matter who your opponent is, does not give you a global gauge.
  • Seeing individual player performances versus their domestic peers does not give you a global gauge.
  • Seeing your collective team performance – a reflection of your training and supporting infrastructure – exclusively against domestic opposition, does not provide a global gauge.
Competing with top-level international opponents is what provides a gauge. And if possible, against the very best.

This past week was the fourth trip we’ve gone to Europe to play the best in the world.

And so you can see for yourself, we’re once again releasing the full video of our quarterfinal match versus FC Barcelona.

We’re open and happy to answer pretty much any and all of your questions. So ask away! Of course, if they are sensitive (for example, player specific), we’ll refrain.

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  1. Alfonso says

    First and foremost, thanks for sharing this. Was a pleasure to watch.
    I don’t if it’s personally just me but I felt the match was more than even and it really came down to small details. I think you guys obviously demonstrated an extremely high level of possession football against a side that is known for their possession style of play. Certain things that Barcelona did that helped them win the match was the amount of pressure they placed on your boys. They were so many effective, in my opinion, in forcing your side to have to play the long ball to often. And when it came to starting the build up play from the keeper, they really closed down the spaces well and forced losing possession quickly. If I’m not mistaken barca’s gol comes from a long ball from the RB, possibly RCB to their 9 and he finished that brilliantly. But it comes from a throw in from your side. Your number 10 takes a wrong touch but your RB wins it plays it to the captain, he sends a pass to the small blonde boy, sorry couldn’t make out all numbers, and he isn’t ready to receive and the RB intercepts and plays that long ball to the 9. Aside from that I don’t really recall too many dangerous chances from Barca in that half. If anything the clearest chance came from you guys in the 20th and then another one in the 21st min. The second goal was a lost 1v1 situation but was originated from a foul that led to Barca keeping possession until they picked out the winger to go in that 1v1. You guys demonstrated that good football does exist in the U.S. and should be allowed to continue working as an academy after this season. Few sidenotes, Barca looked really good handling the pressure you guys applied and were able to build up play from a the back a bit more comfortably. And a couple things not game related but why was there only 1 ref? The parents comments from both sides shows how passionate they are about the game too interesting comments. Thanks again for the video as a young coach I really enjoy watching this.

    • Brian Kleiban says


      Thanks for watching and sharing.

      I beg to differ on barcelona playing out of the back more comfortably than we did. I think they might have had a few good sequences. They definitely played direct more than they built out of the back.

      They controlled the tempo of the game much better in the 2nd half. Proper game management. Time wasting on throw ins, restarts, faking injuries, killing rhythm.

      We had our chances to punish during a good 12 minute spell to end the first half and didn’t. At the highest levels, you either punish, or get punished. Goles que no haces, goles que te hacen…..argentine phrase.

      Good learning experience for the ourselves and the group. Lots to work on. We are close and gave Barcelona the best game of the tournament……more so than aspire in semis and madrid in the final. Could be my personal bias but they are of the same opinion.

      Again, thanks for contribution.

      • Michael says

        One thing we are learning as we are moving up in play is how badly you get punished for mistakes. The team that capitalizes almost always comes out on top. When we were playing Gold and below, we rarely got punished for the mistakes. Now in our first season in Premier our boys are slowly learning to break these inconsistencies in play. It seems you can look back at the film and talk about quality all day, but the ability to take advantage of lapses almost always is what determines the outcome.

        • Brian Kleiban says


          Thanks for contributing. 1000% correct. As you climb the ladder in levels of play, mistakes become costly. At the highest levels, 1 mistake usually leads to a goal against.

          That applies at all levels of soccer be it rec, youth club, academy, college, pro, or top level international.

          Match winners don’t forgive your mistakes.

      • Kevin Haspela says

        Curious about your comment, ” Proper game management. Time wasting on throw ins, restarts, faking injuries, killing rhythm.”
        How is faking injuries proper game management? Certainly killing rhythm, and I’ll agree that there is no need to hurry when a team is in the lead, but faking injury is poor sportsmanship in my opinion and I will never coach a team do pretend they are injured to gain advantage. Do you see this as an industry standard in coaching at your level? I am a high school girls coach.

        • Brian Kleiban says


          Thanks for the post. Yeah, in the international game (except uk and stateside), anything and everything goes to get a result.

          Faking injuries and diving are accepted as being clever. FC Barcelona is teaching it, they are known as gold standard world wide, but here it’s definitely frowned upon….a no no, bad boy Johnny.

          Depends on your views.

          I surely didn’t like it as it was being applied against us by the best club on the planet…..barcelona resorted to what we call anti-futbol to get a result. The verdict is in, WIN AT ALL COSTS!!! Even in the youth game.


      • RJ says

        Have to agree – first half, you were killing it. Some great opportunities, and you made FC Barca expend a lot of energy trying to press, which you broke pretty easily.

        I didn’t watch the second half, but apparently they made the right adjustments to win. The definitely seemed more direct than Chivas, but even though Chivas lost, there is no reason to hang your head – that was an outstanding display of soccer at a youth level – something you just don’t see in the States frequently.

        As a side note, I have used your post on Van Gaal and his 3 month time frame to get world class football. I’m a relatively new member of the coaching section, and I’ve just started applying the training. My team will never be Chivas, just too low level, but if we can even start to think laterally rather than vertically, and break team defenses through 1-2 combos, I’ll call that a victory.

        While on that note, I can tell you that the quality of play is SO bad at the school level, and they “train” so frequently, that it’s a complete and utter struggle to break the bad habits. The US really screwed the pooch by requiring coaches be on staff as teachers, it’s absolutely destroying any good work club coaches do. Remember, not all teams are “academy” – there are A LOT of mid- and lower-level travel teams that still represent an opportunity to drive possession-oriented soccer that ultimately elevates our country’s quality of play.

        That has been the biggest issue I have seen thus far. At U12 (when I was NOT a 3four3 member), I had my girls playing a bastardized possession game. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective and it worked – we were a dominant team with mediocre players. At U14 (now I am a 3four3 member, and 95% of my girls play middle school ball), we’ve lost all semblance of a possession team, and it’s clear that crappy training 5x a week will yield a crappy product…I’d almost call it brainwashing…FWIW.

        Sorry to ramble – great job with these boys, keep up the good work and fight the good fight!

  2. Cynthia says

    In this game it doesn’t seem like your keeper or backs are trying to play the ball out of the back. One touch by one back is not playing out of the back. Not building up the attack?

      • RJ says


        Take this as a compliment – when I first watched the video, I was multi-tasking (ie., not paying attention LOL), and I thought CHIVAS was FC BARCELONA!!! Even though it’s clear the blaugrana unis are FC Barca, the quality of play was SO GOOD and I was unfocused that I thought it was other way around. Truly a testament to how well you have these kids playing, it’s really tremendous. I only wish I could steal you guys for a few weeks to run my kids through the ringer!!!

        So perhaps others felt the same?

        • Brian Kleiban says


          Thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t go that far. We had a good spell in the first half where we played the type of futbol we like to practice. Sustaining that for longer periods of time and completely owning a game of this magnitude is the objective long term.

          Another great learning experience for everyone involved.

          • RJ says

            Understood – and context – I watched the end of the 1st half, where you were much more in possession…I did not watch / see the whole game, so not sure what changed.

            But for that 10-12 minute spell, I didn’t realize I was watching your team…it was impressive, even if short.

  3. John Pranjic says

    Seems like it took Xuhxuh awhile to get into it. Best and worst moments happened on that right side in my opinion in the first half. Keeper seems timid so far, some slow decisions and slow balls out to the cb’s made for some difficult situations. Love the combination play that started happening midway through the first half. Efra and Xuhxuh flipped a switch. FCB seem content with it happening in those areas though, middle to defensive third of field. Super methodical about their pressing. Excited to see how the teams change in the second half. I remember seeing the stats and it said FCB had majority of possession so I’m anticipating a much different second half from both teams.

    • Brian Kleiban says


      Pretty good read on the game on your end. We had a very good spell midway thru the 1st half where we owned the game and the momentum was ours. Created 2 clear chances and a half chance that needed to be goals. You had to be there live to feel the massive swing in momentum. Efra finishes and I truly feel it’s a different game. Their sideline was in panic mode. Wanted to get to half desperately.

  4. John Pranjic says

    Wondering if you guys knew going in that they would press your cbs with their attacking mids on goal kicks? I’m trying to figure out the best way to combat that. Makes things really interesting since their wide players just chill and take away outside backs and then their am just goes balls out to press.

    • Mauri says

      Saw the same thing. Barça’s first team used to press opposing CB with iniesta and/or Xavi. A three back solves that. Either permanently or temporarily with the holding. Just mho.

      • Brian Kleiban says


        Agreed, 3 back system usually gives you numbers in the build out when the have their offensive miss jump a line.

        However, had we known this was their tendencies, rehearsing how to get out with our 8 and 10 early by skipping that first line would have solved the problem fairly easy.

        MASSIVE REGRET! Difficult with how the tournament is played and being understaffed.

    • Brian Kleiban says

      Hey John,

      Did not know they would press with their 10 on goal kicks. Was difficult to go and watch them prior to the game since we played at the same time in different locations.

      It would have been tough to execute. One of my biggest regrets was not having seen them live this tournament prior to this game. Gary argues that had we watched them in other games, it would have served a very small purpose since they were playing inferior opposition that doesn’t truly test them.

      I beg to differ, any type of scouting would have at least given us a better chance to prepare. All in all, lots of the 01s from our team are fairly new. Some only a month or two into it and it shows in these big games.

      The gk completely new, 1 cb, 1 attacking mid, and 1 fw. Lot of new faces for this trip. Great experience for all the boys, especially the new ones who all have the qualities to be successful long term.

  5. Walter LeBlanc says

    I disagree with Cynthia. I feel there was a great attempt to build up out of the back and switch fields. The keeper was not just kicking the ball out. I enjoyed the composure of the Chivas players despite being under great pressure from Barcelona. On both sides of the ball we could see teams exhibiting the 2 benchmarks of pressure and possession. What I would love to read is what adjustments/areas of growth Chivas will work on to improve. What was the focus of the halftime discussion? I feel the boys were definitely up for the task but still falling short. How do you get over that last hurdle to win the biggest competition? How do you increase your number of quality shots on goal?

    • Brian Kleiban says


      Great comment and all very good questions…..will take me some time to compose a response and I’m prepping for champions league right now. Will try to get back to you in detail later this evening.


  6. Faraon says

    Thanks for the video.It was definitely a learning experience just watching it.Good pressure from Barca didn’t let chivas get a rhythm going.Good first half for both teams I thought.Energy and individual ability seem to kick in, in the second half for barca.Just what I saw but when chivas was coming out of the back barca overloaded sides so much that chivas couldn’t get a numerical advantage on the wings but left the Attacking mid position open for chivas to use but neither back was able to take advantage of that.And I don’t know if that left forward for barca was that good or xuhxuh just had a game that bad.Either way the boys seem to give it their best effort and there is definitely no shame in losing to probably the best u14 team in the world.

  7. Brock says

    Thanks for sharing Brian, I agree with a lot of the previous comments on here. Thought you guys maybe came out a little flat, but once the game got going key players started to make plays that changed the tempo of the game and eventually led to your two great chances and control of the end of the first half. If it was tied at half I think this game would have ended in your favor. Something I also want to compliment you on is the usage of your players, couldn’t tell the number but obviously little blonde guy on your team seemed to be the smallest on the field, but I felt he had great positioning and knowledge of what to do with the ball. (Sorry for the run on sentence). I think a good indication to any us soccer fans that it is not always about size and strength, if the players are coached properly than it doesn’t matter. Again congrats on what I would say is still a successful tournament appearance and a great experience for the lads. Hope to make it out to one of your conventions. Thanks again and good luck

  8. Miguel Velazquez says

    Hi. Guys,

    I must say congrats on keeping your composure and truly keeping your identity after going down 1-0. That finish by the number 9 on FCB was amazing, but they way you guys were able to reorganize and take the momentum from them just before the 1st half ended was really impressive. if one thing did standout of Barcelona it was the manner in which they pressed as a unit and their game management the last 10 or so minutes( i think they were afraid of what had happened in the first half). Watching XuhXUh play down the wing as a back is an amazing to watch, he truly encompasses the whole 3four3 philosophy and is able to bring it to life on the field.

    Congrats with your journey through the MIC Cup and thanks for sharing the video can not wait to break it down with my brother.


  9. says

    I really enjoyed your team’s game. I hope in the future I could have the opportunity to work with your staff and players.

    I really enjoyed watching your team play. They display a high level of calmness (which only comes with being comfortable on the ball). I saw more technical abiility in this game than I see in a lot of MLS games and what I mean by that is that if and when your players get in tough tight spots, they don’t get flustered and figure out a way out by either passing or dribbling out. I think it was Alex Ferguson that once said that one of the two main things he looks for in a player is how good are they at being able to get out of tight spots on their own. Id’ say almost all your player can. Well done and keep up the good work. Let me know if you guys are ever in need of a fitness coach.

  10. Oscar V. says

    The squad played well. I have seen prior videos on the website and thus i can safely say your players matched up against a squad that were just as quick and skillful as your players and therefore at first they might have been filled with anxiety at the beginning. Barca did close down very quickly and maybe chivas players were not used to that playing against clubs from USA. Yes, the two opportunities missed by your number 10 player would have shifted momentum but seeing that he is a very calm technical player he tried to place both shots when he could have whacked it with more power but of course when your viewing from a different angle (hence, as a fan) every play can be analyzed differently.

    Keep your head up coach. I wish i would have been that good at their current age. Im 35 now and so clubs/academies and money were not a big part of soccer back in the 90s as is now. There were very few club teams in the SF Bay Area when i was growing up so mu dad coached us. Not bad because we went to Far West regionals one year.

    But hey in your case to be the best you have to play/beat the best!! Example: mexico national team plays in usa to make money and play against any country just to earn a profit while USA national team plays against the best in Europe to get better.

  11. Frank says

    Props for giving Barcelona a great game

    I’m curious to know how 3four3 compares against other teams around the globe In terms of playing the highest level of soccer. In your eyes, is chivas usa producing players with a skill level high enough to compete against teams like Barcelona? Or is it still a while before that level can be reached.

    • Brian Kleiban says

      Thanks Frank,

      Little confused about your comment/question.

      I feel we can definitely compete with the elite level academies world wide. The proof is in the pudding. We have had the possibility to play against the leading academies world wide and had ample success in terms of level of play and results.

      Sustaining this level with good competitive games at the critical ages of 15-18 is the next challenge. Can our local environment provide this? That is the question.

      • R2Dad says

        Curious if you could expand on this 15-18 competition issue, either here or in a separate column. That age range seems to be the window where the wheels fall off the leagues/system(s) we have in place. I’ve read that you and Gary are not big supporters of the status quo, so I’m wondering how you see a logical evolution in order for your team(s) to get the derby competitor(s) you deserve. Other posters here have called for a revolution but I don’t see that happening unless there is a stream of money or US Soccer dictate to build whatever is needed to replace what we have now.

  12. Austin says

    All I could think watching this game is “this is true development.” The game situations these boys had to solve in this single game is more than many DA kids see the entire year. This is development that compounds on itself. This only happens when you have two teams with coaches dedicated to playing the right way.

    Oh also…Would love to know what your #3 is picking up at Veerhuys! How do you see his development and what impact of futsal training?

  13. Justin Aguirre says

    I thought Chivas won the first half overall and definitely kept barca on their heels with 2 point blank chances that if would have been converted would have been a much different outcome. Barca’s press was also extremely synchronized and relentless, I’m not sure there were any teams at mic that could have played out of the back consistently against that press. The second half however I feel Barca took over as far as the possession, middle of the field, and the opportunities created. No. 9 for them is on another level. I could understand Brian’s frustration as well, Barca was really abusing the clock with the injuries and killing the tempo way too much, it almost seemed a bit anti-Barca to do that so much too.
    But what a game from both teams and a clear display of young world class football!

  14. Mike says

    I thought Chivas played out of the back very well. In the first half there were great 1-2 combos in the middle to defensive third of the field along the sideline, especially the right side. It seemed this was making Barca hesitate rather then them being content to let it happen there, after all, these are the areas of the field they love to press the most.

    It seemed the Chivas attack was very rushed in the offensive third and didn’t always allow for support to help. You have such quality possession that it would be great to see them pull the ball back more and reload it. It would have given a different look here and there by slowing the game down and allowing the forwards to circulate and find gaps between defenders for split passes while the backs and mids hold the ball allowing this to happen. I think your team has the game intelligence and quality to do this. The game had a very fast pace the whole game, all the way to the final third, which may have been your tactic against them. I don’t remember seeing very many overlaps or overloads occurring which could have been useful with that fast pace.

    • RO2 says

      I would have to completely agree. I feel like what worked in the first half was possession to keep the ball and make Barca run around and chase the ball a bit. Everything was very frantic and fastpased offensively and very direct. I too would have also loved to see Chivas slow it down a bit. Try and create movement of there back line and look for gaps to exploit with forwards runs and mids penetrating passes. Chivas has the ability to keep the ball against one of the best academys in the world. I felt like the constant pressure of Barca was just enough to unsettle Chivas’s players to get ride of the ball sooner than they wanted to.

      The one thing that ran thru my head was these are just kids!!! They are not super human robots. They have been TAUGHT to play this way. IMO it can be taught stateside but i will take more people willing to get there hands dirty and teach it from the ground up. Just like Brian and company!

      Keep up the good work!!!!!

  15. Andy Mullaly says

    Brian: watched the entire game and will probably watch it again. In the second half Barcelona made some tactical switches that caused your boys some problems and Chivas never seemed to get a flow like they did the last 10 minutes of the first half.

    I could tell your Keeper was new to the team, the difference between his release and Barca’s GK was demonstrative. Barca got rid of the ball consistently cleaner and quicker than Chivas which made a difference to your press; when you did get a good press Barca had problems with playing the ball out, I saw quite a few bad passes out of bounds.

    Was #8 (your attacking pivot) playing up in age, or is he just small? He had good speed but seemed to get sucked into to tight a supporting angle lots of the time.

    It also seemed obvious that Xuxuh hasn’t been playing with you guys consistently, he attacked well, but I thought his tracking back wasn’t on par to other games I’ve watched him. (Their left wing was very skilled and would make any lesser back look absolutely foolish.)

    They also seemed to let the refs non-calls and calls against in the 2nd half get to them (especially your attacking 3, I saw them flustered more than once due to calls). Obviously the ref annoyed you as well. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? What did you say to get to tossed? For myself, certain refs just drive me nuts and its hard to bite my tongue.

    Finally, who was the guy constantly calling someone a puto? It was almost the only thing you could clearly hear throughout the entire game. I’d much rather have had you miked like in the 3four3 coaching vids.

    Always, enjoyable watching your teams play. I know you’ll land on your feet when Chivas closes down this year (extremely short-sighted decision by MLS, but typical).

  16. Nate says

    I really enjoy learning from these videos. Both teams showed quality, but in the end I feel Barcelona showed a bit more poise. An example of that is when they defended, their pressure was immediate, as was yours, but they didn’t over commit as much as Chivas did, especially in the second half. The goal that come in from your right side is a good example of this. On the ball this was evident as well in that they seemed to have at least two options in their mind when building so if their first was taken away, they knew where their next play was going to be and had the individual skill to execute either one a bit faster then Chivas was able to.

    That being said, Chivas was not out classed, more so then just out played by a quality team. Great game to learn from.

  17. says

    Hi all,

    Here’s some comments I had origianlly posted to Gary’s twitter timeline. Hope I am not too harsh. I tried watching this game like a fan would watch any other.

    Big fan of 3four3 and everything the Kleibans do! Cheers!


    6 Min: Chivas appears to have issues with switching the field faster to move it to space where Barcelona is not occupying. Chivas needs to move the ball faster, into space in order to avoid the constant pressing. The ball is constantly
    played into traffic. Not enough LONG switches across from the backline.

    First goal for Barcelona at 9:44–Chivas did a dangerous pass down the middle if controlled correctly would have resulted in a good counter–instead were caught in a vulnerable position when the CM appeared to have turned over the ball resulting in a goal by Barca on the quick counter and beautiful first time volley finish.

    12:40: Do not see enough support and width when getting control of the ball in urder for the ball to be better moved and possession to be kept.

    18:min: Given the kids age–it’s understandable. But there were times with more ‘nerve’ the outside back/CBs resulted to pelotazos because of danger. A more calm lob to a open teammate would have resulted in the better pass.

    20:30 – Great build up play which unluckily didn’t result in a goal.

    First half started off rocky, when Barcelona were pressing with ALL of their men on goal kicks causing Chivas to turn it over in dangerous spots or give it up from pelotazos when pressured and in danger.

    Once things started clicking for Chivas though, and Barcelona appeared to not attempt to keep pressing at the same pressure after a while (fatigue or mental lapse?) Chivas had more space to put together strong passes, 1 touches and runs into space that I am more used to seeing. Things again looked even between both sides. Early on Barca looked to be the dominant side but no so after 15mins.

    Second half:

    5:10-24 mark – Barcelona show extreme patience d methodically moving the ball around looking to expose a flaw or opening in Chivas’ defense or midfield.

    Barcelona players look more confident as they hold more possession with cheeky fake shots, feints and moves that have the Chivas defenders left guessing. Obviously this is more mentalty than anything. Mental fatigue on Chivas’ end and Barcelona on the flip side–having the mental edge and calm to hold the ball and already be 2 steps ahead. Individually so far in the second half, Barcelona appear to be the more individually talented side when showing what they can do when surrounded in danger. No dig against Chivas–it just appears the talent level when not just moving in to space, connecting passes, when matched individually Barca is at a level that’s a bit higher when it comes to skill, dribbling, feints, faking out defenders, etc.

    After the second goal, Chivas appear to be demoralized, head hung low. Barcelona capitalizing on the slower marking and drop in confidence. This is doing the opposite for them–raising their confidence allowing them to play more of their game.

    With the game slowing down with the game set so far at 2-0.

    The #10 is really something else for Chivas. Had a great nutmeg/play at 17:20 which was a thing of beauty but lost the ball after being clipped. Later it resulted in him fouling in frustration to get the ball back.

    A difference I see at times–when Barcelona try to slow down the pace or are in a dangerous area, they still play calm, effective. Chivas when regaining possession go to their normal plan of attack, quick 1 touch passing into space with speed for a quick counter. I feel while it’s fun to watch, and these counters have given them the biggest chances to score in the game–can almost seem too predictable at times. Don’t mean offend.

    Haha #17 giving a soft kick to the back of the feet of Chivas’ #5 at 24:50 was great lol. Such a little kid acting like a man.

    With that said, the game was very close at times–but Barcelona had that ‘edge’ which wasn’t THAT much above Chivas–but enough to get the win and hold possession/mentality to not let Chivas get one to get them back into it.

  18. says

    Great to watch! I thought the result was fair. Your players and team did very well. I thought many of your players could fit right in with the Barcelona side. My opinion, while the differences were slight, at the highest level, they prove to be big:
    1. Technique under pressure;
    ~demonstrated more calm and composure on the ball in ALL situations
    ~they turned poor passes into good passes by getting on to flicks, 50/50 balls and errand passes
    2. Speed of play;
    ~support around the ball; arriving in good position or dangerous space (recognition, anticipation)
    3. Pace and Quickness
    ~they looked quicker in all positions, ranging from slightly quicker to much faster

    Your boys can play. Love the commitment to your style of play, and there ability to grab the game at times and impose themselves on the opposition. They are clearly on their way to bigger and grander things in our game! Great run at MIC, fun to watch, and thank you for sharing.

  19. Lothar says

    Can’t add much that hasn’t been said already, but I do have one question for Gary/Brian: Just how good was FCB’s No. 9 in person? I know a lot is lost on camera with distance and only one angle to watch from, but that kid just seemed another level above everyone else on the field. Curious to know if I’m getting an errant impression from the video, or not. Thanks for all you do, for providing the video (showing your product), and showing those willing to see and learn how the game can/should be played.

  20. Don says

    It looked to me like FC had the game in hand relatively easily.

    It was a prototypical good EU team vs a good NA team. EU was a littel stronger and was never really in severe danger.

    The comments above seem to kiss a little too much ass. Brian/Gary have always given me the impression of trying to be honest and wanting honesty in return. So, in my opinion…

    Chivas is one of if not the highest level of U13/14 teams in NA with a few NT level players. I didn’t see the other games only this one so maybe those unnamed NT players had an off-game on this particular day. FC had much stronger field presence especially with passing with purpose (and heading with purpose), better shot selection, and better patience – Chivas was godo but just a little too sloppy with the ball and getting to the right open space – especially in the middle and top 3rd.

    Game summary:
    - FC dominated the first 10 mins-
    - Chivas put together a few good combos between middle of the first and middle of the 2nd half
    - FC turned off the jets for most of the 2nd half – they dominated when necessary
    - FC occasionally played direct and that doesn’t mean they always do that – it could just mean playing more direct was an opportunity – a weakness with the way Chivas protected space – so FC could take advantage of more direct play – FC certainly completed good passes doing it
    - No reason for Brian to complain enough to get kicked out of the game – better composure
    - Complaining about the other team slowing the game, faking injuries , etc is weak sauce and not 100% accurate – its part of the game and doesn’t mean its poor development as alluded to earlier

    Chivas are a strong team and I would like to see their other games from the MIC. If Chivas was the toughest competition for FC in this tourney then I’m not sure what that means for the rest of the world – either Chivas is close to being the best, this FC team isn’t quite that great, or the rest of the world is not producing what it should be.

    Congrats on the tournament, you had a good run and you should learn a ton from this particular game and how to train even more effectively.

  21. Austin says

    So I’m going to go out on a limb and respond to some of the criticisms of Chivas USA style of play in this game, so Brian and Gary don’t have to.

    1) This Barcelona youth team is the best of the best. They put up 4 goals in the final against Real Madrid. They put up upwards of 15 shots in all games of MIC leading up to Chivas USA, where they only had six shots.

    2) You guys are underestimating the difficulty of playing out against the la masia-coached press, particularly for kids who are 2001s and many of whom have been with Brian for short period of time.

    3) Brian coaches a team of 2000 and 2001 players, so they were missing key experienced players. Tournament rules say you can only bring a couple 00s.

    4) To execute as much 1-2 touch possession against this Barca team as Brian’s boys were able to is incredible. Brian’s boys handled Getafe fairly easily in the previous game for all those wondering what level this team is at.

    5) Imagine if these boys faced a decent press week in and week out when playing in the DA? The competition that Barca kids face every week back home is THE difference and makes the match-up almost unfair.

    Brian–Tell us how you are going to get your boys some decent competition these next few years. I might be able to get an angel investor to sponsor chartered flights to Bradenton every weekend. 2 team youth league. You vs. Richie! Battle of the minds. Think about it. :)

  22. Lir says

    Very impressive football for age, especially compare to the disaster – direct football that feeds from the bottom up,from club to HS, College +. Nice work, on playing with the best to show your level. I am not familiar with your way of coaching, and could not educate myself enough based on your free materials, but you are clearly doing something right.

  23. Terry Ransbury says

    Futbol is the “beautiful game” until the home team gets a two goal lead. Thought I was watching Serie A in the second half, but that is not the reason for this post. Watched it twice and felt the urge to score the speed of the game since I thought it was a big difference between two highly skilled teams. I ignored the speed of closing on the ball, which I thought FCB was superior, and focused on race situations where both players had a fairly even start for the ball. Calling it as I see it:

    First half 0:00 to 12:50 FCB wins 7 races to 1
    First half 11:00 to 25:00 Even 3-3
    Second half 0:00 to 13:00 FCB wins 14 races to 0
    Second half 13:00 to 26:30 Chivas wins 5 races to 3

    Scary. These results tracked the phases of the game (momentum), the scoring, and the winner. And I know from video that Chivas dominates speedwise here in the US. I also know that video looks slower than being there. Good speed from both teams but FCB #4, #9, #11, and #14 were sensational.

      • Terry Ransbury says

        Austin, you may see them more than I do as that would be easy since I live far away. I have only seen the posted videos and maybe their excellent ball movement against weaker opponents gave me a false sense of absolute versus relative speed. I will concede that point to your expertise, but certainly not the speed advantage of FCB in this match.

  24. Larry says

    Hi Austin,

    I think you misinterpreted Terry’s data. Terry’s data says Chivas USA was slower to the ball than FCB.

    Where, you stated that Chivas USA is not a fast team but stated you disagreed with Terry’s data.

    Did I miss your point entirely?


  25. Austin says

    Sorry. I only disagreed with the part about Chivas usa u14s being faster than their competition in usa. There is one player you used to see on video (the right back) who is really fast, but he’s not even with Chivas usa anymore full-time. He’s futsal-ing in Holland. Other than him, this team gets by on being more intelligent than their American competition; their game has nothing to do with speed. Their occasional loss against American teams occurs when they are physically overpowered yet they stick to their guns–play it out of the back, receive the ball across your body 1-2 touch, really nice patterns, dominant possession, but other teams speed/physicality comes in and causes a mistake or two. I agree that speed was a factor in this game as well.

  26. Socceroo says

    Wow – that was fun to watch, as a father of a son that is playing in South Texas – I have a strange question.

    Where would you recommend we train to get this style of play, we are currently at LoneStar SC in Austin, and the technical skills nor possession are taught to this level.

    As we moved up the club, we thought technical skills would become more common, but they have not, and frankly we are getting a little tired of direct attack, and run on.

    Are there any places or clubs you would recommend in and around Central Texas that teach this style of play?


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