Honduras smashed Jamaica 5-0 in CONCACAF U20 action. Honduras lined up in a 4-4-1-1, mostly looking to hit Jamaica in transition situations, which they did with tremendous effectiveness. The pitch conditions were extremely muddy. Honduras’ rainy season and the high number of matches being played have caused this particular pitch to look more like a mud bath than a sports field. On several occasions, players could be seen going to the sidelines so that coaches could flush the mud out of their eyes with water. So if you ever wondered if the players covered in this article can do it on a rainy Monday night the answer is “yes.”
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Honduran
- Age: 18
- Date of birth: 28/12/2003
- Current Club: Real España
- Career: Real España (Y)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
Playing as a striker, Marco Aceituno had a fantastic match that was capped with two goals. Aceituno baffled the Jamaican defenders with his off-the-ball movement throughout the match. He scored his first goal, and had several other chances, by losing a marker with a quick change of movement and receiving the ball in a high-danger scoring area. This sort of movement basically guarantees at least a respectable career as a striker. Aceituno has the most basic building block of being a successful striker, which is a great thing to see for someone so young.
In addition to his off-the-ball movement, Aceituno showed some ability with the ball at his feet. Aceituno displayed strong dribbling ability despite extremely difficult pitch conditions. He was able to beat players 1v1 though he sometimes opted to play things safe if he got stuck in a wide position. He would often just play the ball back to a teammate rather than try and dribble against a couple of players. He was also quite quick with the ball at his feet, which was especially impressive in the muddy conditions. That said, he didn’t always have the pace to get on the end of balls played in behind the defence. It’s not that he was slow per se, just that he wasn’t blowing anyone out of the water with his speed.
Aceituno is not the biggest player, standing only 5’6. Naturally, he’s not exactly a menace in physical duels. But he does use what he has effectively. He created a great chance for a teammate by shielding the ball, allowing it to bounce, and then getting around a Jamaican defender and cutting the ball back. There were also several times he was able to shield the ball under pressure and retain it.
Aceituno’s passing was a bit hit and miss. He had a lot of attempts at passing the ball in behind but he wasn’t ever really successful.
Aceituno has recently broken through to the first team of Real España in Honduras where he has two goals in a little under 300 minutes. It’s probably for the best that he stays there for another year or two. But his very early goal rate looks pretty similar to Honduran players who went on to bigger things and the skills he showed in this match are great building blocks for a strong overall game. I see a future in one of MLS or Liga MX for sure.
- Nationality: Honduran
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 24/05/2003
- Current club: Marathón
- Career: Marathón (Y)
- Position: Attacking Midfielder
- Preferred Foot: Right
Isaac Castillo played this game as an attacking midfielder, often pushing forward as a second striker alongside Aceituno. Throughout the match, he showed some decent attacking skills and put in a good amount of defensive work.
Castillo had a goal and an assist in this match but his game is much more oriented towards shooting than passing. He took a lot of shots from outside the penalty area. For the most part, I would say his choice to shoot was the right decision. He wasn’t just blasting the ball as soon as he got a sight of the goal. He was usually dumping possession when under pressure or shooting when he was in a lot of time and space.
One area of Castillo’s game that really stood out was his dribbling. He was very good at beating defenders with a drop of a shoulder or a quick change of direction. This was especially impressive on the very muddy pitch. He won a red card and managed to get in a good position he really should have done more with his dribbling.
But one area that stood out as a negative for Castillo was his playmaking. He assisted Aceituno’s second goal, true, but it was his only shot assist in a game his team won 5-0. In fact, that’s his only shot assist so far in the whole tournament. If a player is going to play as a #10 I don’t think that’s going to cut it. His other passing was ok but nothing particularly special. He did more to progress the ball with his dribbling and carrying than with his passing.
Castillo also put in a lot of defensive work, frequently dropping deeper to try and break up Jamaica’s build-up play. Between this and his other relative strengths and weaknesses, I think he might be better suited to a deeper midfield role, which is where he plays for his club team.
I feel Castillo was a bit miscast in this game but nevertheless, he showed some strong skills. He’s already a semi-regular player for one of Honduras’ top clubs, 9-time domestic champions Marathón, so it’s definitely possible that he could get to a higher level.