Independiente del Valle Under 20 Match Report vs Caracas FC Under 20 (05/02/2022)

Independiente del Valle faced Caracas FC in the opening match of the Copa Libertadores U20 2022. The locals imposed their game from the beginning and looked quite superior against a very weak side of Caracas defensively and tactically, who tried to press the Ecuadorians and play direct football but their quality wasn’t enough for the contest. The current champions set up a possession based 4-3-3 with high pressing lines and their well-known associative football which easily ran over their opponents.

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

Anthony Valencia

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Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 21/07/2003
  • Club: Independiente del Valle
  • Career: Independiente del Valle
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Left

Anthony Valencia was the right winger for Independiente del Valle and although he played 67 minutes in the game he was one of the most interesting players to watch. The Ecuadorian, despite being a skilful player, also occupied a very tactical role in this match, where every time he received the ball in attack his teammates from that zone such as Mercado and Herrera used to make quick support movements to create numerical superiority in the last third. In these situations, the great associative and technical capacity from Valencia was seen, waiting for the overlapping run of the right back or Mercado’s arrival in attack, where he showed some very good passes with an assist included.

The 18-year-old is very quick in 1v1s, with great ball control at speed and able to receive it in tight spaces where he was very agile to past his opponents, whom Valencia liked to face whenever he could winning most of his duels. He often asked for the ball and used to scan around him to lose his mark at the right moment, even going down on occasions to receive and then moving forward with the ball and making a quick play by playing a dangerous pass or facing his opponent until reaching the box. He also used to cut inside and then passing the ball to the other wing for the winger or leftback arrival, displaying great peripheral vision. Overall he made good decision making although there were a few times when he dribbled too much and could have chosen better. It’s a typical trait at his age so it’s not a big deal.

Valencia is not the strongest but he was able to stand his ground in some body to body duels, but he shouldn’t usually have problems on that thanks to his acceleration and his high paced football. However, the poor defence of Caracas was disappointing and I’m waiting anxiously for a worthy opponent to watch players like Valencia at his best.

Rating – 2

Although it is the first game I have seen of Valencia and it was only 67 minutes, it is not difficult to see that he has a lot of talent and is very promising. I prefer to see him more often to make a conclusion regarding his future but rushing I must say that I would not be surprised to see him having some appearances for the first team from this to the next season.

Marco Angulo

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Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 8/05/2002
  • Club: Independiente del Valle
  • Career: Independiente del Valle
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Marco Angulo played as a deep-lying playmaker behind midfielders Mejía and Mercado. He was responsible for initiating most of the team plays, a role in which he seemed very comfortable thanks to his precise passing and great ability to set the tempo of the game. In a brief description, Marco Angulo is a player who defines well the stereotype of Independiente del Valle youth academy production: technique, tactical acuity and teamwork.

Constantly active during the 90 minutes, the Ecuadorian distributed the ball to find spaces in the weak Caracas’s defence, where he always had that vision to find a good passing option that later ended in a dangerous play for IDV, switching sides constantly or just taking simple passes with his great first touch. He always scanned before receiving but he seemed to get more alert in the movements of his teammates than those of the opponent, since there were times when Angulo received from his position and he lost the ball quickly under pressure, as if he did not realize what’s coming. He lacked some strength to hold his ground in those situations.

The Ecuadorian used to position himself near the central defenders but he had no problem going up in attack where he was a great contribution as he often found the wingers in space or Mercado’s overlaps where they broke the opponent’s defensive lines quite easy. Angulo also was able to going back to defend in some counters where didn’t seemed tired and showed great stamina.

What caught my attention the most about Angulo was his positional movements throughout the match. It is not difficult to notice his reading of the game since there was no occasion in the entire match which the midfielder was lost sight of, he knew where to stand in all kinds of situations to start a dangerous play or take the ball from his opponent before a counterattack. He is highly developed tactically. The 19-year-old show quite coldness at playing and despite the occasions where he was under pressure and lost the ball, Angulo was one of the most mature players on the pitch and that was easily to realise when he was in possession.

It was necessary to see him more in both defensive and physical duels since this was a fairly relaxed match for him in that sense due to the low general level of Caracas.

Rating – 2

Marco Angulo is a very technical player and already made his debut on the experienced midfield of IDV, where he surely will have new appearances this season. I’m not giving him the 1 yet since I think he has to improve in some traits but he is absolute ready mentally, technically and tactically to be a first team player in the Ecuadorian side.

Patrik Mercado

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Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 31/07/2003
  • Club: Independiente del Valle
  • Career: Independiente del Valle
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Mercado played as a right central midfielder and proved to be one of the most promising prospects in Ecuadorian football. He was the midfielder with the most freedom of movement on the field thanks to the roles of Angulo and Mejía, and was able to perform tasks both in attack and defence. In possession, the 18-year-old had good decision making and went on the attack whenever he could with and without the ball, showing great control and fairly quick movements more like those of a skilled forward. Mercado is a technical player who, like his teammate Angulo, feels very comfortable with the ball and is very good at passing. He used to reach the final third a lot using his speed which allowed him to get back in time to defend and sometimes faced his opponents where he showed to be a good dribbler, feeling comfortable with both feet. It seemed that he set the pace of the team with his actions, since when he went on the attack, his teammates set up higher on the pitch but if he braked and touched back, the team responded repositioning to start again patiently. Mercado connected very well with his teammates and that chemistry was noticeable in each IDV attack, being an overly dynamic player as he was an infallible passing option on every occasion and made life impossible for his marker by constantly moving from his position. Thanks to that, the midfielder had a chance where he anticipated in the box and received a pass where with a quick movement to position himself and with his shot he scored the first goal of the match.

The youngster was not only a contribution in attack but also on occasions went down to defend when necessary, where he recovered balls and participated in a few disputes. However, in the second half I didn’t see that same energy from the first half so he missed some stamina, which is logical as he was one of the players who ran the most on the pitch and has plenty of time yet to develop his physique. Although is not the best game to judge him in this trait, it is seen that he is not the strongest or the taller, but he won the few physical duels he had standing on his ground.

Mercado showed great attitude at playing and was quite decisive in the 67 minutes he was on the pitch. He has a lot of presence in possession and seems like a player who brings together very versatile traits in midfield.

Rating – 2

Mercado had a great performance and I think it won’t be so long before he makes his appearance in the first team of Independiente del Valle. He has great potential and is one of the faces of the next bright future generation of Ecuadorian players. I’ll take a closer look at him in this competition.

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