The last two games of the year for CD Tacón were two Madrid Derbies, both away from home against Rayo Vallecano and Atlético Madrid respectively, which resulted in a 1 - 1 draw and 2 - 1 loss. Even if there is still a lot of room for improvement, both in execution and tactics, the team is steadily developing. In both matches, Las Blancas fought to win until the last minute and kept a compact structure throughout the game.
The team played in the usual 4-4-2 formation, with Asllani dropping deep at times and shifting into a 4-2-3-1. The main offensive play also remained mostly unchanged: attacking through the flanks, spraying passes to Sofia Jakobsson, who would then try to assist Asllani or Ubogagu to finish off in the area. Defensively, Las Blancas also upheld their customary high pressing that was essentially very effective. None of the goals conceded were created in open play.
One welcome inclusion to our very limited offensive arsenal has been long range shots. During the game against Rayo Vallecano, we could see several players, including Ubogagu, Asllani and Thaisa bidding to score from outside the area, and it was one of those attempts that gave us the draw in injury time. However, there is a serious problem with finishing off near the posts. Our main attackers have either the speed (Ubogagu and Jakobsson) or the quality (Asllani and Lorena) to create good scoring chances, but there is no one on the pitch who can seem to capitalize on those occasions.
This was especially noticeable against Rayo, where Tacón clearly dominated the first half of the game, but failed to convert a goal. Rayo Vallecano’s scoring star, Oriana Altuve, netted the ball on a penalty kick in 75th minute, and Las Blancas fought back valiantly for the rest of the game. It was the captain, Malena Ortiz, who scored a long-range equalizer at 90+2’ in a very Real Madrid-like come-back.
Golazo de Malena , se lo merece , PARTIDAZO!!! pic.twitter.com/kMp9cVBAc5— YOLANDA HORTA (@lulutowanda) December 15, 2019
Atlético played a much more intense game. They are the defending champions of Liga Iberdrola, but this year they seem to be losing the race against Barça. They already are five points behind and can’t seem to find continuity. Against Tacón, they pressed high and the team had problems building up from the back, as they have all season long. Our goalkeeper, Yohana, tried playing long balls in hopes of finding her teammates up top, but a very strong wind and some of Atleti’s more physical defenders frustrated her efforts. Attacking in transition was once again our main alternative. It was one of those occasions that produced the only Tacón goal of the game: Asllani took a shot that landed on the post and Ubogagu scored the rebound.
Golazo de Chio, sorry, se me corto la celebración pic.twitter.com/5qk0jpbVjq— YOLANDA HORTA (@lulutowanda) December 21, 2019
Tacón have greatly improved in defense since the beginning of the season and it showed against Las Colchoneras. Atleti struggled to create danger in open play, but used their set pieces very efficiently. Both of their goals were results of corner kicks. If we assume that the first game against Barcelona was an outlier (the infamous 9-1), then in the first six games of the season Las Blancas conceded 16 goals and kept one clean sheet. In the last six games of the year, they’ve conceded only seven goals, but have yet to maintain a clean sheet. Nonetheless, the latest five (72%) have been through set pieces. It is a definite area of improvement for the team to learn how to better defend those.
Currently, there are two players (Aurélie Kaci and Lorena Navarro) with four bookings each that could face a one-match suspension if they are shown another yellow card. Next in line we have Ainoa Campo, Daiane and Thaisa with three bookings.
On a general note, on December 20th , the federation, unions and La Liga signed pre- settlement regarding the first Collective Agreement in Spanish female football. This settlement includes wages, maternity and vacation agreements. We can now assume there won’t be another call for strike.
What could happen during the January transfer window?
The major areas of improvement are: building up from the back and finishing off chances.
Currently, the best central defender on the ball is Ainoa Campo. She is also the most disciplined defender positionally and has experience playing as a midfielder. The team could aim to bring experienced central defenders with good on-the-ball quality and switch Ainoa to a defensive midfielder role, which could fit her best.
On the other hand, Venezuelan sensation Deyna Castellanos and her team had dropped some hints that pointed to her joining Las Blancas, but after weeks of ongoing rumours, Atlético de Madrid announced her signing yesterday. There haven’t been any other rumours regarding offensive signings and there aren’t any free agents at the moment that could be a likely addition. Tacón have surprised in the past with secret signings such as defender Babett Peter and Osinachi Ohale, who announced they were part of the team days before the club did. Tacón have reportedly been looking for more experienced players, but anything can be expected — even not receiving any new players until the summer.
As a side note (but probably the hottest topic for Tacón’s following) is David Aznar’s use of Swedish star Kosovare Asllani. Her main problem with Tacón’s way of playing is the fact that the team is not able to build up play from the back. Her abilities are better shown when she acts as a link between defenders and the final third, trying to open passing lanes and roaming between the opponent’s lines. Therefore, fast counterattacks and long balls are not her best fit. Nevertheless, she has been a very important piece for the offensive side — feeding fast balls when recovering to Ubogagu and Jakobsson.
Tacon beat Sevilla 5 - 1 on January 4th (match review coming shortly). The next fixture for Tacón will be played against Barça on January 12th .
Since we last saw Barça in the first game of the league, they have won all games except one against Rayo Vallecano, where they went home with a surprising draw. In their last game of 2019, they didn’t win as comfortably as expected against Granadilla, but all in all, they are arguably a step above Atlético de Madrid and perhaps on a Lyon-like level. They already had a very high-quality roster before the return of Lieke Martens, who came back from injury in early December. Besides the Dutch player, their offense is comprised of Liga Iberdrola pichichi Jennifer Hermoso, Norweigan winger Caroline Graham-Hansen and Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala. Kosovare Asllani, the Madridista fan favourite, recently made some comments on playing against Barça:
“It’s not fair to compare that game with a team that was built one month before the game,” Assllani said of the disappointing result, jumping to the defense of her still newly formed team. “I wouldn’t count it as a Clásico - next year it will be a Clásico.”
“But there’s not another team on the planet that I would want to beat more than Barcelona. You still feel that rivalry. I’ll feel it even more next year when we can put on the Real Madrid jersey. We’ll be ready for that moment.”
It’s safe to say that with the slow, but steady improvement of the team, they will not be relegated to the second division. With some new additions in January and hopefully some tactical improvements, we could be looking into finishing 9th or 10th position in La Liga Iberdrola.