One of the things to watch for the Red Stars for the upcoming season is what Amanda DaCosta will bring to the offense and how her contributions will change how the rest of the team plays.
In an interview with the Chicago Red Stars DaCosta stated that “I know that Rory basically sees me as an attacking center mid to sit behind Christen Press…..”
What this means is DaCosta will potentially play in the number 10 role that Lori Chalupny occupied so often last season. DaCosta will not play the number 10 role like Chalupny. The key driver early on for the Red Stars scoring was Lori’s impeccable ability to send a long through ball to Christen Press wherein she often found herself one on one with the goal keeper. The long through ball is not outside of DaCosta’s ability. but it is not where the strength of her game lies. Where Chalupny played more like a deep-Lying playmaker, DaCosta plays higher up in more of an attacking role.
Amanda DaCosta is the player that will look for the open player before scoring herself. Amanda’s vision to find the open player is one of her greatest strengths. It’s evident in her career even in her college years that she is not the primary goal scorer, she will be the one creating chances for the other players. Just look at goals and assist at her time at Florida State:
2007 6 9
2008 4 6
2009 3 7
2010 4 2
One of the faucets in her game that demonstrates her vision is her technicality in the short game. It is the short passes to the outside midfielders and to the pressing forwards that makes her a creative attacking midfielder.
Where DaCosta excels is finding the open in much tighter circumstances. Take for instance this fantastic serve she does to Estefania Banini against the Dash on April 10 in the 11’ minute.
while she does have a good chance to get a shot off, the better scoring oppurtunity is the one she creates for Banini.
In fact her touches are phenomenal
Here DaCosta makes a run across the goal line to one touch it back to Banini who is wide open for a shot.
Another aspect to Amanda DaCosta’s game is becoming an attacking option. As a player that plays as an attacking option DaCosta has great pace as she shown numerous times throughout her career keeping up with the attack. In one notable instance in 2012 against the Western New York Flash, DaCosta out sprints three defenders and two of her teammates to provide support for the attack.
Her pace plays into her next characteristic, the far post run. Whenever one of her teammates makes a run with the ball towards the goal, DaCosta is alongside on the far goal post ready for the pass or a deflected shot. While this was seen less with the Spirit, her far post runs were the norm against Liverpool.
As an attacking center midfielder and what will be crucial for the Red Stars is Amanda’s ability to generate second and third oppurtunity’s off of redirected shots. Part of the struggle late last season for the Red Stars was the inability to generate clear scoring opportunities after the first shot. This is where Amanda DaCosta can add another layer to the Red Star attack.
What Amanda DaCosta contributed to the Liverpool attack does not appear on the stat sheet. She was able to generate an oppurtunity for someone else to give an assist. Overall I expect that the Red Stars are going to play in the wings more and DaCosta is going to give the outside midfielders better chances to shine. I expect to see the Red Stars evolve from a team that is dangerous with long balls to a team that forces defenses wide to give the forwards more breathing room.