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Murrysville Area Soccer Association

Murrysville Area Soccer Association


The 3-3-2

Target Formation
The 11v11 formation that is mimicked by the 3-3-2 is the 4-3-3.

The 3-3-2 features three fullbacks (one center half in the middle and two outside backs to the left and right), three midfielders (typically arranged in a triangle shape with two deeper midfielders in front of the fullbacks and one attacking midfielder just behind the forwards), and two forwards in the most advanced positions on the field (one to the right and one to the left).

Attacking Philosophy
In most cases, the 3-3-2 is a formation designed to maximize the abilities of the attacking midfielder (the #10), who plays in the space between the holding midfielders and the forwards. The #10 is the target player, serving as the principal distributor for the attack. The forwards in a 3-3-2 move interchangeably in the attack as they seek to exploit gaps and make runs into space around the opposing defense. The holding midfielders dictate the direction of the attack and serve (along with the #10) as the primary possessors of the ball. Often, one of the two holding midfielders will push higher up the field into the attack to increase the pressure on the opposition. When this happens, the remaining holding midfielder becomes the primary supporting player moving forward. The center half typically plays somewhat deeper than the outside fullbacks in possession, serving as support and release for any attempted attacks that are well defended. The center half will dictate the direction of the attack in such circumstances. The outside fullbacks provide support for the midfielders and forwards in the attack. Occasionally, the outside fullbacks will make attacking runs along the wings to increase pressure on the opposition, to increase the number of passing options for the attacking players, and to cross balls into the box.

When played well, the 3-3-2 can dominate possession in the central midfield. Because the three midfielders are arranged in a triangle shape (with no midfielder pushed wide), they are better able to maintain possession by making shorter, more efficient passes in the build up to attack. When one of the holding midfielders pushes higher into the attack during possession, the 3-3-2 can be very difficult to defend because the opposition is presented with unexpected and unpredictable angles to defend.

The wider areas of the midfield of the 3-3-2 can be exploited by opponents. The 3-3-2 is especially vulnerable to quick counterattacks from the outside wing areas. In these circumstances, either one of the midfielders or an outside fullback must move out of position to defend the wing, thus opening up attacking space for the opposition.

When to Employ the 3-3-2
Because its primary focus is on possession in the midfield, the 3-3-2 is an effective formation for teams with highly skilled and intelligent players who can play the three midfield and the center half positions. The 3-3-2 is also an effective formation for teams with athletic, speedy, and fit players who can play the physically demanding outside back positions and make the creative attacking runs as forwards.

Derivatives of the 3-3-2


Murrysville Area Soccer Association
PO Box 494 
Murrysville, Pennsylvania 15668

Email: [email protected]

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