El Paso Locomotive-Match Report Vs. Orange County SC (21/05/2022)

El Paso Locomotive played to a 2-2 draw with Orange County in USL action. It was a back and forth game with both teams capitalising on defensive errors to score a goal. El Paso played a 4-3-3 that often turned into a 4-2-3-1 thanks to Diego Luna’s free role. Orange County lined up in a 3-5-2 and was slightly more defensive than El Paso, focusing a little more on counterattacks. 

  • 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 level, re-watch 
  • D – Below average in this match

Diego Luna

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 18
  • Date of Birth: 07/09/2003
  • Current Club: El Paso Locomotive 
  • Career: San Jose Earthquakes (Y), Barca Academy
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder 
  • Preferred Foot: Right 

Diego Luna played on the right side of a midfield three in this match but in practice, he had quite an attacking free role. He was almost always the most advanced midfield player for El Paso and he ended up in the middle or left side of the pitch just as often. Luna’s best and most readily apparent skill is his dribbling ability. The ball seems to stick to Luna’s feet, he has fantastic close control. He was marked quite tightly but he was still able to get out of those situations more often than not.

He is surprisingly strong for how small he is, able to hold players off and shield the ball with his body quite effectively. He also demonstrated really strong pivot strength which let him change direction very quickly. Luna also has quite a bit of pace with the ball at his feet. This meant that he was also really effective when he had open space to run into. All in all, this made Luna a very effective ball carrier. His passing was good but a bit limited. He made good short passes to help him get out of tight situations or to bounce the ball off of teammates and get it back. El Paso’s first goal was the result of a nice bit of flair from Luna where he was able to flick the ball past an opponent in transition to an open player in space. But he did not show much passing range other than those short passes. So his passing is good but if you are looking for someone who switches play with long cross-field passes or splits lines with progressive passes, Diego Luna probably is not your guy. Luna also showed the ability to be a goal threat. He scored a goal when El Paso capitalised off a defensive error. He had another good chance when he received a pass in the box, dribbled to a slightly more dangerous position, and put it through the keeper’s legs only for his shot to be cleared off the line.

Defensively Luna did not shy away from closing players down, and his speed helped him to motor around chasing the ball, but he did not actually win the ball back all that often. I would not say his defensive ability is a major strength. 

Rating: A1

I think Luna is ready for the step up to MLS. I suspect his long-term position, at higher levels, will be as a winger rather than as a centre midfielder. I think his relative strengths and weaknesses just work better out wide and he ended up in wide positions quite a lot anyway. His contract expires at the end of the year according to Transfermarkt and there’s no real reason for any team in MLS to not be in on him. He’s incredibly good for his age and has taken a big step from last season. 

Eric Calvillo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: El Salvadorean 
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 02/01/1998
  • Current Club: El Paso Locomotive
  • Career: Real Sol Cal, New York Cosmos, San Jose Earthquakes, Reno 1868, Orange County SC
  • Position: Centre Midfielder 
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Eric Calvillo played as a box-to-box midfielder in this match, often dropping deeper to accommodate Diego Luna’s more attacking play. Calvillo showed a lot of energy in the game closing down opponents all over the field. He was often effectively in a double pivot with Richie Ryan but he had a little more freedom to close players down. With the ball, Calvillo was often attempting aggressive passes behind the Orange County Defence. He attempted a diagonal ball between the centre-back and the fullback on several occasions with mixed success. He often attempted passes with the outside of his foot, which occasionally allowed him to get passes off quicker and catch the opposing defence out before they were ready. But it also led to some giveaways.

Like his teammate Luna, Calvillo was very quick with the ball at his feet. However, he was not quite as creative as Luna. Rather than quick changes of direction or flashes of skill, Calvillo was basically trying to brute force his way past defenders. He was quick and quite strong for his size so this did work sometimes but he wasn’t as successful as Luna, sometimes he would just end up running right into someone. Cavillo was not shy of letting loose a long-range shot which no doubt has contributed to his decent goal-scoring record for a defensive midfielder. Calvillo took all of El Paso’s corners but he was not able to create many chances from those. 

Rating: B1

Calvillo is a strong player at this level. I would happily recommend him to any USL team or similar level (international player rules permitting). But I don’t really think he could make the jump to MLS and be anything other than a very fringe player. 

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