In the video clip below North Carolina Womens Coach Anson Dorrance diagrams and discusses the alignment, shifts and advantages of the 1-3-4-3 system. This is a system that is predicated on defensive pressure. If you team is unable or unwilling to apply pressure, then this system is not for you.
The 1-3-4-3 will allow you to impose your will on the other team by applying pressure in all corner of the field. The basic alignment is with 3 players up and four in a diamond shape in the middle. At the top of the diamond in the midfield will be a center half and underneath him you will have a holding mid fielder. Two flank midfielders are as wide as possible. In the back you will have a flat 3 defenders.
Coach Dorrance discusses the defensive adjustments according to the position of the ball and also discusses how to transition to offense from this alignment.
The clip is provided by NSCAA. There are many great video on the NSCAA YouTube Channel that are sure to help you become a better soccer coach.
The YouTube video has sound, so please make sure your sound is on and that you have access to the site (Some schools block access to YouTube)
It is critical that all three lines drop to form pressure, cover balance lines of support. This allows you to apply maximum pressure, while taking away their platform for initiating play. You can make them uncomfortable in an area of the field where they normally are calm and relaxed.
This system is an excellent way to develop your talent and maximize pressure on the opposition.
Offensively you have an increased number of players that are committed forward. With 3 up front you can you can play direct when they are flat. You also have the opportunity for maximum width, thus creating space. Finally the side opposite the ball offers and isolation opportunity that you can take advantage of.