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MSC Five Favorite Short Corner Kick Routines

With the rise of data and scouting in the game today, there is no doubt that set-pieces have become a key aspect of planning and preparation for teams at the highest level. We have had a few requests for some set-piece routines so we decided to put together some ideas that focus specifically around the 'short corner'. In my opinion, this is the most difficult set-piece to execute because of the number of variables involved: additional passes, timing of runs, delivery on the run, and more time for opponents to react. We have broken the routines up into the video, initial organization and then looked to point out the specific movements around that which are required for the set-piece to become so effective. Although a couple of the routines may seem very similar (LAFC and Spain) I think it's a great example to see the detail and creativity that you can add to get a player into a certain area or exploit a specific match-up. Many of these routines were designed to take advantage of certain zonal or marking structures, so although they may look easy, the work that has gone into those timings under the pressure of a big game cannot be underestimated.

If you enjoy the topic, please let us know on social media, subscribe to our YouTube channel and we will post some more set-piece work in the near future.

Set-Piece Number 1: Underlapping Run from Taker


- Two players on the ball to bring out two defenders

- Four players together at the far side of the box - clearing space in penalty area

- One player at far post to engage defenders

- Two players covering one forward outside the box


- Kick is taken short and triggers an initial 2v2

- As the nearest covering player goes to support, the player who took the corner kick runs under the covering defenders towards the goal (must be aware of defenders movement around goal to stay onside)

- The third player in support finds the oncoming runner, who dribbles into the box

- The players at the edge of the box make attacking runs towards the goal and look for a passing option or attack the rebounds.

Set-Piece Number 2: Around the Corner with Iniesta (Spain)


- One player at the edge of the six-yard box, who will remove the marker by moving towards the ball.

- Four players across the six-yard box to engage the zonal defense, with the front two setting a 'screen' for Sergio Ramos to move around

- Two players on the edge of the box, to engage markers


- Nearest player at the penalty spot triggers the pass by sprinting towards the ball

- Two nearest attacking players set a screen at the six-yard box

- Fourth player then curves their run towards the near post and shoots on goal

- Player at the far post moves towards the goal and looks to rebounds or redirected balls

Set-Piece Number 3: Double Step Over (Portland Thorns)


- One player inside the six-yard box, either side of the goalkeeper

- Two players centrally at the penalty spot with another delaying their run towards the same area

- Three players at the back post, starting outside of the six-yard box


- Nearest player at the penalty spot triggers the pass by sprinting towards the ball

- Player behind makes same movement and first player steps over the ball

- Second player then repeats the step over as the player from outside the box sprints in and shoots on goal

- Three players at the back post look for rebounds or reposition themselves for the second phase

Set-Piece Number 4 - Deep Overlap and Overload (Atlanta United)


- Two players at the edge of the six-yard box, one will remove a marker by moving towards the ball, the other will engage a defender so that they cannot go and help in the upcoming 3v2

- Four players around the penalty spot to engage markers and

- One player arriving late to create the wide 3v2 on the overlap


- Nearest player at the penalty spot triggers the pass by sprinting towards the ball

- Central players are assigned runs - including two 'spinning off' to the back post and become targets for the overlapping player

- Overlapping player times their run to exploit the 2v1 and then delivers a cross to the back post

Set-Piece Number 5 - Iniesta with a Twist: (LAFC)


- Two players inside the six-yard box, starting on the weak side of the goalkeeper.

- Three players centrally at the penalty spot with the closest player to the ball moving away and provoking their marker to pass them on and go to the ball instead.

- Three players on the edge of the box, starting outside box and then moving inside to 'frame' the goal.


- Player inside the box moves short to trigger the initial pass

- Movement inside the box towards the back post, allows an attacking run to be picked up and brings out the nearest player to the ball

- Attacking player from the edge of the box runs underneath and receives 'Iniesta-type' reverse pass

- The same player then follows their pass and overlaps into the space, looking for a combination or a redirected ball

This article was written by Gary Curneen as part of a promotion for the new book 'Detail'. If you would like to support the free content at Modern Soccer Coach, 'Detail' is a collection of takeaways from the interviews we have done on podcasts and webinars throughout the past four years. It is also a personal perspective of how Gary views the game, experiences on why he has changed (both good and bad), and what lies ahead for the coaching community. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY.

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