"Players and teams generally require comfort zones," writes MLSnet's Steve Davis. "Teams that haven't settled into them by Week 27 are paying the price." While Davis recognizes the "cause and effect cycle" in which failure causes tactical tacks, he points to this past weekend's games as examples of the way teams with more defined roles have started to separate themselves from the rest.
The LA Galaxy, for example, produced a tight performance over the weekend against a Toronto FC team that just added designated player Julian de Guzman. While de Guzman showed his class, his touch and his awareness, his introduction to the team late in the season doesn't necessarily translate to victories. As opposed to de Guzman, Davis points out, David Beckham has been slowly finding his groove with the Galaxy. "Beckham just keeps settling into his role with the team, now to the point where he has gained full speed. His eighth start -- all in the same role -- was his best yet, as his passing and movement helped keep the home team moving in the right direction," Davis writes.
As compared to Beckham's solidified midfield role, Davis suggests that Freddy Ljunberg's morphing role in the attack partly explains Seattle's failure to find the net in recent games. Lastly, FC Dallas may have undone itself over the weekend by changing formations so often, even during halftime of its game against the Kansas City Wizards, which have stayed more true to a formation and personnel.