Caracas FC U20 Match Report vs Sporting Cristal U20 – (11/2/2022)

In the last game of Group A of the Copa Libertadores U-20, Caracas and Sporting Cristal played an all or nothing for a chance to reach the semifinals of the tournament. Although the context of the match sounded good, it ended with a result that was typical of a friendly. Sporting Cristal came into this game with a knife between their teeth after an embarrassing 7-1 defeat against Independiente del Valle, and this time it was just more of the same: Caracas won 5-1. The Venezuelans set up a 4-2-3-1 with a direct football which was effective to find spaces everywhere against a passive Peruvian side who had a few occasions but weren’t able to keep the ball and to progress it.

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

Saul Guarirapa

Saúl Guarirapa marca hat trick para la goleada del Caracas Sub-20 | Fútbol  123|

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Venezuelan
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 18/10/2002
  • Club: Caracas FC
  • Career: Caracas FC
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Guarirapa played as a striker and was the player of the match scoring a hat-trick. The Venezuelan is a quite powerful physical player in the duels, in which he easily imposed himself with his 1,88 m. and his toned build. He tried to lose his mark in Sporting Cristal’s deep defensive line by dropping to the flanks where he showed anticipation and explosive strength when sprinting. That allowed him to receive passes into space showing good pace, a situation from which he scored the first goal of the game after receiving a low cross while he lost his mark and quickly entered to the box to shoot. Guarirapa was a great contribution to Caracas’ associative play as he usually came down to receive from behind, where he was very good at turning fast and then progressing. However, with the ball in front of him facing opponents his agility is not the same to change directions or dribble, so he is better using his physicality in those situations.

His off the ball movements were quite good, especially in offensive transitions where he used to be in the right place to receive, scoring his second goal after being well positioned in the box to take advantage of a rebound. He didn’t miss any dangerous play from Caracas, Guarirapa was always there for the occasion and made very good decisions in the final third. When receiving outside the box, he used to try longshots which were quite powerful but lacked a bit of aim. And if things got too tough in the middle, he read the play well to open up to the wing. This movement was seen in his last goal where he receives the ball in the left wing and powerfully sprints directly to the box to shoot and ensure Caracas presence in the semi-finals of the competition.

Unlike his teammate Torres, Guarirapa is a suitable player for different styles of play, being able to perform in possession based teams due to his associative capacity, but also being a good option to counter attacking styles sides thanks to his physicality.

Rating – 1

Saúl Guarirapa displayed first division level and should make first team appearances this season. He has quite interesting traits and I think he is a player with a lot of potential to be a quality striker for the Venezuelan side.

Jean Torres

Las 30 cosas que no sabías de Jean Torres

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Venezuelan
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 02/03/2003
  • Club: Caracas FC
  • Career: Caracas FC
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Jean Torres played a little further from the two central midfielders being the playmaker of Caracas. He did not have many problems playing his role and showed a very good technique during the game. As Sporting Cristal waited in their own half letting Caracas play their football, Torres had plenty of time to take the right decisions and tried to make definitive and long passes into space, which were quite accurate missing a few. His passes provided progression in Caracas’ build up and he used to move behind the opposing midfielders to receive the ball in a good position. Under pressure, he was able to get past his opponents being very skilful with his feet, but as he advanced a few meters it was noticeable that he is not a fast player so he preferred to pass the ball as soon as he could.

The Venezuelan was constantly checking his shoulders before receiving and had good vision to find the strikers well positioned. Especially on one occasion where he delivered a powerful long vertical pass into space for Guarirapa who, if he had been able to control the ball in the air, probably would have ended up with a great goal.

The 18-year-old looks like a decent enough player in possession, but he has a physique that makes him a little useless out of possession. According to, Torres stands at 1.67 m. and weighs 69kg. That coupled with an endomorph somatotype and a build with fat proportion. Clearly not the best physique to be a footballer and that is reflected on the pitch. He avoided any kind of physical duels but on the other hand, I don’t want to take away his merits, the Venezuelan showed work rate pressing a lot in the first minutes and on some occasions he was able to go down to defend. However, his resistance evidently decreased as the minutes went by until he simply stayed in his position waiting for his teammates to regain possession. This makes him a player only suited to very specific systems and today’s football forces him to improve in this aspect.

Torres proved to be a player with attitude on the pitch and maintained his concentration the 78th minutes he played. It is important to note that Sporting Cristal waited on their own half letting Caracas play his game and surely against more dominant teams in possession the young midfielder will have several problems due to his physicality, as it was in the opening match against Independiente del Valle.

Rating – 3

Torres could be a good player for the Caracas first team in the future. However, if he is ambitious and really wants to make a name for himself in football he has to start getting fit physically. If not, he will probably just be an average player in the Venezuelan league, that’s why I’m giving him a 3 and not a 2.

Manuel Sulbaran

Manuel Sulbarán se encomendó a un compañero para su primer gol como  profesional | Fútbol 123|

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Venezuelan
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 8/10/2002
  • Club: Caracas FC
  • Career: Caracas FC
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary position: Left Wing, Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Manuel Sulbaran played as a left winger but switched sides constantly with his teammate Albizo. The Venezuelan performed well on both wings. On the left, he used to cut inside or wait for the overlap of left back Rivas, and on the right, Sulbaran used to reach the bottom line to play crosses to Guarirapa showing great pace and acceleration. However, in some duels it was not easy for him to advance long distances due to his low strength and height. Sulbaran is a small winger (1.65m) who is quite skilled with his feet, has great agility to move unpredictably in 1v1s and a technique that allows him to control the ball at speed comfortably. He liked to face his opponents but was not the typical small and tricky winger who always tried to dribble. Instead, he tried one-twos with his teammates to progress in attack being able to achieve numerical superiority on the final third. Overall he had good decision making in knowing when to make that move or be more individual with the ball, but he lacked presence and did not appear as much as expected.

The 19-year-old’s goal came after a powerful cross from Renné Rivas into the box, where Sulbaran was unmarked and only had to push the ball into the net. The goal was originated from a tactical instruction to him and Albizo that paid off during the game. They used to quickly enter the box before a cross to drag marks and give Guarirapa more space to win aerial duels. Curiously, that caused more spaces for the wingers sometimes as Guarirappa was more of a danger in that zone, so Sulbaran had no mark and could score.

The Venezuelan was good off the ball especially in offensive transitions since he is very quick and agile losing his mark, making the defenders lose sight of him easily. On the other hand, he was lazy defensively and lacks height, balance and is quite skinny, making it difficult for him to be crucial against physical defenders.

Rating – 2

I think Sulbaran has the potential to be a first team player for Caracas, where he has already made 22 appearances. In none of them he completed the full 90 minutes and several have been coming off the bench, so he is slowly settling into the starting up. He clearly needs to improve aspects such as his physicality if he wants to go further, but that won’t be much of a problem in the local league.

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