Sao Paulo Under 20 – Match Report vs Vasco da Gama Under 20 (17/01/2022)

São Paulo and Vasco da Gama displayed good football in a 6-goal thriller match fighting for a place in the quarterfinals of the Copinha 2022. São Paulo set up a 4-3-3 wing play style where their young talent made it to achieve a 4-2 victory against a worthy Vasco side who fought until the end.

Youth Ratings

1 – Ready for the first team
2 – Good, potential to be first team
3 – Decent, could make first team squad
4 – Decent potential, unlikely to make it to first team
5 – Unlikely to make first team


Pablo Maia valoriza treinos com Crespo e primeira convocação no São Paulo:  'Semana especial' | LANCE!

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 10/01/2002
  • Current club: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Career: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pablo played as a central midfielder just ahead of the centre backs being the base of the Sao Paulo midfield, starting plays from behind as a deep-lying playmaker. The Brazilian was the player who set the tempo in the team thanks to his technique and mental quickness to play, playing quite precise long balls crossed into space to one of the three forwards that anticipated. He also displayed great vision and good decisions in offensive transitions. Pablo didn’t usually go up in attack nor was he the most pressing player in defence but he respected his position in a very disciplined way, demarking the separation between the defensive line and the attacking players. He is very good tactically and is an ideal player for teams that play possession football. The 20-year-old was a key player in the Sao Paulo system as he gave freedom to Luizinho, a more attacking midfielder, and knew the right moment to play long balls to the wings in situations when the fullbacks went up to attack while the wingers cut inside. His good positioning is undoubtedly what stands out the most.

Standing at 1.78 m., Pablo is not the tallest or the strongest but has a build physically able to be effective in duels and has a good balance, however, he was seen in very few duels as he avoided them, in addition to Vasco’s attack being focused on the wing, so he wasn’t a great contribution in defence as he didn’t press preferring to stay in his position. He ran very little in the game, but it’s mainly because of his role and tactical discipline. Still, he should improve on his sacrifice to be a contribution to defence when needed. In general, Pablo did his job in producing football and bringing balance to the team, showing great serenity and missing very few passes.

Rating – 3

At his age, Pablo has to start to play professional football and a strong Serie B side or a low table in Serie A would be good to keep developing his potential. Based on this match I think he has to go on disputes more often and be more supportive in defence, but maybe he was just relaxed this time since it’s the first game I watched of him.

Caio Matheus

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 19/02/2004
  • Current club: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Career: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Position: Left winger
  • Secondary positions: Right winger – Centre forward
  • Preferred foot: Right

Caio varied positions starting as a centre forward, then as a right-winger to finally play almost all the game as a left-winger. He certainly did better on the left flank. The 17 years-old is a tricky, high-paced and very offensive player that tends to constantly advance with the ball forward, he never passed it back even when the situation required it, nor did he go down to defend. Caio simply loves to attack and does it very well. For most of the game, the Brazilian tried to dribble or cross and showed a great ability playing low crosses, which were very dangerous and produced an assist. He had good ball control in speed and his movements in and out of possession are pretty fast so he is suitable to play as a pure winger or cutting inside. The youngster connected very well with the left-back Petri and they made the left-wing a nightmare for Vasco, being the 4 goals originated from that zone. He played simple passes and used to wait for Pablo’s long balls, Petri’s overlaps or a one-two with Luizinho. Caio also was very good at getting his way in tight spaces down the wing, being very accurate with his dribbles as he won most of his duels when he faced his opponents.

His build is quite skinny but his pace is so explosive that makes him a serious threat when he runs with the ball, he is like a mosquito, the type of players like Victor Osimhen or Ousmane Démbéle. He will probably have a harder time against strong defenders who could reach him in speed, however, he could keep his ground in physical duels and that was a key factor for Caio to be able to cross great balls and cut inside.

Although he is an attacking nightmare, the Brazilian sometimes rushed too hard in the final third and lost the ball, and since he doesn’t know the word defend there were times when he let the team down in defensive transitions. It was something to be expected because of his characteristics but it is understandable due to his age and his tendency to dribbling and go forward as if there was no tomorrow, so with time he will surely improve it.

When the final whistle sounded Caio was immediately celebrating it with the fans jumping with joy and kissing the club’s badge on his shirt, he is a player with great determination and has a hunger for victory.

Rating – 2

Caio is a must-see player for anyone who is involved in scouting or is just aware of young players with big potential. He has plenty of time to improve on his weaknesses yet and I think he would be able to make it to the first time in the nearly future.

Luiz Henrique (Luizinho)

Destaque do São Paulo, Luiz Henrique aposta na torcida no primeiro jogo da  final da Copa do Brasil sub-17

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 14/08/2004
  • Current club: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Career: São Paulo Futebol Clube
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Left

Luizinho played as an attacking midfielder and was a constant danger in the middle for Vasco’s defence. The Brazilian has a great technique and likes to go forward just like his teammate Caio. Although Sao Paulo’s attacks were focused on the wing, Luizinho didn’t follow the pattern and attacked from the inside facing his opponent or played one-twos with his teammates to get into the box. The Brazilian is an audacious player who is always willing to take risks. He is a great dribbler and he made quick and unpredictable decisions in the last third, generating a lot of danger but also losing balls. He has a good first touch and great ball control, being fast with his feet and quite agile, so wasn’t a problem when he was pressed in reduced spaces.

He is not a strong player and has a build that he still needs to develop at his 17 years old, so he still needs to improve in physical duels, but his pace and agility allows him to pass his opponents easily. Anyway, his participation could have been more but it was overshadowed by the great performance of the three strikers and the constant football played on the wing. Even despite that Luizinho showed quality in his appearances, making good decisions at such a young age and playing with confidence.

Rating – 2

Luizinho is a very interesting number 10 and I will watch him more often since I think he has a lot of potential. I really liked his confidence playing at such a young age and if everything stays the same I see him making his debut for the first team soon.

Additional notes:

Maioli and Vitinho also had a great performance but unfortunately, I didn’t get enough attention from them to take notes. However, they surely will be analysed in their next Copinha games.

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