Sebastian Gonzalez – Player Report

This player report is part of the Scouting in South America series. The third part of the search for talent in Ecuador is about Sebastián González. The LDU Quito midfielder recently conquered a place in the starting line-up and in this player report, you can read why. The previous player report was about Rockson Renteria.

Sebastían González is an 18-year-old central midfielder who is currently playing for LDU Quito in the Liga Pro. He comes from Spain and came through the LDU Quito youth academy. González is 1,78 m tall and this is his first season in the first team of LDU Quito.

LDU Quito usually try to play attacking football with multiple positional changes throughout the match. They don’t play in the same formation every week and often change their shape. LDU Quito have been in bad form recently, only winning one out of their last six matches.

The formation and positional changes mean for González that he has a different position and different tasks for each match. His main position is central midfielder and that is the position I watched him the most in. Playing as one of two pivots, he either drops deep to operate as one of the three central defenders in possession or he tries to run into space between the lines.

When he receives the ball in this position, he usually plays a back pass to one of the central defenders in a low tempo before continuing his run to either the left or the right. He gets into space again in that situation but mostly gets overlooked in those situations as the central defenders often choose another option.

González needs to work on his decisions in the first phase of the build-up. The 18-year-old midfielder has the vision and acceleration to either play a first-time forward pass or to dribble past his opponent. He scans a lot, which should mean that he can assess where his teammates are and more importantly where his direct opponent is.

He very rarely takes a progressive touch, like in the image down below. González gets past his opponent by taking a good, progressive touch and is immediately able to progress the ball further up the pitch and create a dangerous situation for LDU Quito.

It sometimes happens that Sebastían González is not moving in the right direction in the first phase of the build-up. He occasionally closes the passing lane to another LDU Quito midfielder by moving in that direction and basically standing in front of him. Moving to the other side would create space for the central defender of LDU Quito to play the pass to the other midfielder.

Mostly he has a good eye for space though. He usually plays in quite a deep position on the pitch, but when he sees space behind the defensive line of the opponent he always runs into it.

In the image down below you can see that there is space in behind as José Hurtado (the right wing-back of Independiente del Valle) is anticipating that the pass goes to Jhojan Julio. The pass is indeed played to Julio, but with a good one-touch pass he reaches González who cuts inside with the ball on his foot and nearly puts Muñoz through on goal.

When taking on an opponent, he shields the ball off well and makes sure that his opponent can’t reach the ball. He is relatively strong physically for his (slim) build and it looks like he has been hitting the gym last years when taking a look at pictures from him.

González’s passing technique can be improved in some areas. When he tries to switch play, his technique can look a little bit sloppy. He usually does not connect well with the ball and the ball does not go in the right direction. His chipped passes are good though and his through passes (with a bit of curve on them) are a bit inconsistent but mostly good. After playing a sloppy pass, González is quick to transition and he does not give up.

His first touch is good when the ball stays on the ground, but when the ball comes off the ground his touch can be a bit sloppy, definitely when he is being put under pressure by his opponent. A very good sign is that he scans a lot, as mentioned before. It does not seem, at this moment, that he assesses where his teammates are, but he will learn this by playing more games at this level.

González has a good shooting technique and should definitely utilize it more often. He has good shooting power, especially considering his build, and has good accuracy. The 18-year-old rarely misses the target when having a shot on his stronger left foot. It must be said that González is quite two-footed, but his left foot is a bit stronger and more consistent.

In defence, he can be quite aggressive in the 1v1’s which leads to him being dribbled past quite easily at times. González should stay on his feet more and be more composed in the 1v1 duels. When he does that, he would recover possession more. His aggressiveness does help him in winning some duels, though.

In some matches, he was dragged out of position quite often. This meant that he often stood next to the left central defender and was defending as a left-back, while he was playing in central midfield. On the one hand, it was good that he took over the defensive duties from the left wing-back (who was out of position all the time), but on the other hand, it created more difficulties for LDU Quito as there was more space in the centre of the pitch.

Especially when he would play in a higher tempo game, it would be bad if he would be dragged out of position often.

Operating in that area also meant that he needed to cover runs in behind from the quick(er) Bryan Garcia. In the image down below he made the wrong choice by trying to block Garcia from running past him, but he failed to block him. Luckily for LDU Quito, the pass was bad and Garcia either seemed to trip over his own feet or González made a foul. In other situations, González reacted quite late to runs in behind from the opponent as well, even though he spotted the run on time.

However, he also makes some crucial interceptions at times when the opponent tries to have a counter-attack. González has decent acceleration and pace and is capable of closing down his opponents. His slide tackling is good and clean, meaning he rarely gives away a foul in these situations.

Future projection

Sebastián González needs to improve on his defensive positioning, his decision-making in the first phase of the build-up, his tempo and his consistency in his passing. For now, he is not ready to move to Europe, but I think he has the potential to move to Belgium/The Netherlands in 2–3 years if he works on his weaknesses.

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