Colo-Colo – Match Report vs. Union Espanola (27-11-2021)

Colo-Colo and Unión Española played an all-or-nothing match in the penultimate game of the Chilean First Division, where the locals had the chance to maintain their leadership in the race for the title. The visitors, Unión Española could confirm a place in the next Copa Sudamericana. Colo-Colo set up a 4-3-3 in a high-paced game style, trying to take advantage of the wings with offensive fullbacks and wingers cutting inside. On the other hand, Unión Española waited in a low block with the intention of counter-attacking the Colo-Colo’s high defensive line, which suffered in the second half thanks to the tactical shortcomings of its midfield, a weakness that Unión Española knew how to take advantage of to take the 0-1 victory.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Vicente Pizarro

  • Nationality: Chilean
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 5/11/2002
  • Current club: CSD Colo-Colo
  • Career: CSD Colo-Colo
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Left

Vicente Pizarro started as a midfielder in his 22nd match as a professional, in which he used to be the support player for all his teammates. When the game took place in midfield and the ball was owned by Colo-Colo, he was always well positioned to receive as well as to distribute, ready to ask for the ball. Pizarro always scanned well before receiving, which allowed him to shape himself very well to later advance or give a key pass. His passing was quite precise, but when he had the ball he preferred to not take too many risks and go for the simplest play due to Union Española’s compactness throughout the match.

The Chilean combined very well with the wingers, where he always offered as an option to play one-two passes. Pizarro was an important part of the Colo-Colo system since his role gave more freedom to playmaker Gil. Fuentes, the defensive midfielder, did not have problems in the back as he always had Pizarro as support against any dangerous counterattack. It was precisely in those circumstances where his defensive capacity was seen, where most of his tackling were efficient and he could steal balls in midfield, an important aspect for a 1.72 m midfielder who still has to develop his physical strength.

When he has space, he takes his time to make a good decision but he is always looking to pass the ball to a teammate. Taking on opponents in the 1v1 and dribbling is not his preferred situation. Pizarro likes to take advantage of his technique to initiate dangerous attacks, as well as maintaining possession by using his great first touch.

Pizarro also stood out for his serenity and calmness when playing, hence his ability to think before taking action. This is the reason why he sometimes preferred to maintain the possession until he found space, instead of playing a risky through pass. However, sometimes this was not a good thing as he should have played a through pass, but he was too risk-free in certain situations.

He is much faster mentally than physically, and that is why he has performed very well in the role he plays in Colo-Colo, however, he has to fortify his physique to win more duels and have more presence on the field.

Rating – A2

I think that the 19-year-old has a lot of potential, but he still has to develop and it would be better for him to stay in Colo-Colo at least for another 2 seasons, in which time he has sufficient time to improve on his physicality which could help him make the leap to European’s biggest competitions.

Gabriel Suazo

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Chilean
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 9/08/1997
  • Current club: CSD Colo-Colo
  • Career: CSD Colo-Colo
  • Position: Left back
  • Secondary position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Left

The 24-year-old Colo-Colo captain played as a left-back, as he usually does for the team after his positional evolution that started in midfield. In the match he was a key player both in attack and defence, arriving in the final third to connect with Pablo Solari, and being responsible for avoiding several dangerous attacks of Union Española. His ability to go up and down the pitch thanks to his great stamina makes him one of the most important players in Colo-Colo’s system. He is not the fastest player but it is sufficient for returning to his defensive position in time. Despite not having a great physique, he was very good at tackling and won speed duels and second balls. He has a great natural fitness, he seems like a player who can easily play 120 minutes without ending up exhausted, and that motivated him to always go forward and overlapping the left winger to generate numerical superiority on the wing, something that they achieved often in the game. 

He played simple passes and took advantage of the constant support when involving with Solari or in the midfield with Fuentes, Gil or Pizarro. This is something that I have noticed in several games since he changed his position from a midfielder, where many times his decisions were not that good and despite his decent technique his passes were not as decisive as expected from a player who occupied a playmaker role, which is probably why he is now playing as a left back. However, a pattern in Colo-Colo’s system is Suazo changing of position to midfield in the last minutes of the game which he also did against Union Española.

Suazo used to wait patiently for his opponent until the right time to make the tackle. He was the most offensive defender so he was always alert of a counter attack on his wing, where he avoided some dangerous plays by winning several duels. However, Unión Española set up two defensive players in that zone knowing the danger of the Suazo-Solari duo, so the Chilean didn’t have to work much on defence as the visitors focused on the left when attacking. He had great concentration during all the match and was very well positioned defensively, so there was no problem when a second ball fell on his zone. Nevertheless he is not very strong and can have problems against physical and tricky wingers.

His teamwork is probably what stands out the most, he likes to combine with his teammates and that can be seen not only in his football but also in his attitude on the pitch, which makes Suazo’s captaincy understandable in such a young age.

Rating – A1

Suazo is one of the best left backs in the Chilean First Division and already has international experience. He is probably reaching his max potential and a mid-low table club in Europe could be a good step for him.

Pablo Solari

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Argentinian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 22/03/2001
  • Current club: CSD Colo-Colo
  • Career: CA Talleres de Córdoba – CSD Colo-Colo
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pablo Solari is a 20-year-old winger who can play on both sides, and he does it according to what the team needs. On the right, he takes advantage of his stronger foot to put crosses into the box. On the left wing, Solari is the first player to face the opponent and he either cuts inside or waits for the overlapping run of Gabriel Suazo. The chemistry between these two players had its great expression in the first minutes of the game. The youngster started as a left winger and Colo Colo’s attacks were focused mainly on the left in order to take advantage of the individual marking of the Unión Española right back to Solari. When Solari received the ball, he faced his marker until Suazo made the overlapping run or he dribbled past the defender and forced the defender to step out of the defensive line which opened up a gap in the defence. In the second half, Solari switched to the right and had a more individual role than a collective one, mainly due to the counterproductive tactical changes of Colo-Colo at halftime that gave the team an imbalance on midfield until conceding the 0-1 at the 49th minute, and that made them depending more on the individual talent than teamwork.

However, if something characterized Pablo Solari was his attitude of never giving up and his desire to go forward, that is how even though the team went down after the goal, he continued looking for a way to get into the 1v1 duels and conceiving problems to the Unión Española defense. It was in those situations where he could be seen at his best and where he showed all the characteristics of a traditional winger, displaying great pace, crosses and most importantly, the ability to generate and winning 1v1 duels.

It is seen that Solari’s physique is not enough to get past physically strong defenders, a context in which he exploits his agility and ability to dribble with both feet.  He is not a strong player, but his acceleration when he carries the ball at his feet makes him an ideal one for quick transitions.

Defensively, Solari is able to sacrifice when the team needs it, and as I said before, he has a great attitude not only when he insisted on attacking but to go and get the ball back when he lost it. However, this is not the best game to judge him in this trait, since Colo-Colo had the ball most of the time and Unión Española focused on playing fast and direct counter attacks.

His passes were inconsistent at times, partly because he is a very unpredictable player in the last third, but not always in a good way since he rushes his actions sometimes and does not always make the best decisions. He has pretty decent shooting, and although he just had a few against Unión Española, I have seen games in which the winger has attracted a lot of attention in this field.

Rating – A2

Not so long ago, Solari had been linked with Bayer Leverkusen, but I think it is still early to take a step of such magnitude. He has great potential and could play in a big team in Argentina or in the MLS, as well as a low table club in Ligue 1 or LaLiga.

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