De los Cobos finds success with new formation

The single forward alignment has paid dividends thus far

The first three games of the MLS season saw the Chicago Fire use two forwards with an 0-2-1 record to show for it.

Last week, head coach Carlos de los Cobos started only one forward and the Fire got their first win of the season, defeating D.C. United 2-0.

But will the Fire’s performance against D.C. convince de los Cobos to use a single forward formation more often? Well, he’s not quite sure of the answer to that question just yet.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” de los Cobos told MLSsoccer.com after training on Tuesday. “I am trying to find the best 11 players to start the match.”

De los Cobos does know that he isn’t worried about a one forward formation creating issues in the attack for the Fire. He emphasized that the actual number of forwards on the field isn’t important. Rather, he said that a solid offense “depends on how many players arrive to the box when you are attacking.” Fire forward Brian McBride agreed with that statement.

“I think the most important thing is the amount of people you get up the field in support and in the box,” said McBride. “You can play with one forward, but if five guys are making the box it’s going to cause a lot more problems than playing with two forwards … There are ways to do it and cause tons of problems.”

The Fire can be expected to use the lineup more often as the season progresses. Chicago used a lone striker formation for most of their preseason matches and de los Cobos has made it no secret that he prefers using formations that feature a single forward.

“I want to play a 4-1-4-1,” he said after training on March 16.