Club Universidad de Chile – Match Report vs Cobresal (22/08/22)

The story of this match is one of a mercurial player that can produce a moment of magic to win a match for his team. The other team didn’t have a similar star, so ended up losing.

Universidad de Chile scraped past Cobresal 1-0 at home to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Chilean cup. Neither team played particularly well as U de Chile’s 4-2-3-1 was starved of possession early on as Cobresal tried to impose themselves on the game. Both teams pressed each other high which made it easy to determine which players are good enough to play higher: those who could deal with the press mentally and could still play football well under pressure in tight spaces.

• 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

Darío Osorio

Player Profile:
• Nationality: Chilean
• Age: 18
• Date of birth: 24/01/2004
• Current club: Club Universidad de Chile
• Career: Club Universidad de Chile U19, Club Universidad de Chile
• Position: Right-Winger
• Secondary position: Left-Winger, Attacking-Midfielder
• Preferred foot: Left

It takes a very special player to attract interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world while playing in the Campeonato Chileno. Darío Osorio is that very special player.

The winger can play on either side and as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 but played on the right wing in this match. Tasked with ball progression, creativity, goalscoring and being the outlet for counter-attacks, I think Osorio can be proud of his performance as he scored the only goal and was unanimously voted Man of the Match by the media and fans. His goal was a thing of beauty as he cut inside from the right wing, leaving 2 players in his wake. He glanced up and rocketed a shot into the back of the net that dipped over the goalkeeper from 27 meters out. it was a goal that spoke volumes about his individual quality, as did his complete performance.

In the lottery of the gene pool, Osorio struck gold. At 184 cm he is taller than you would expect a winger to be. He has a slim build, sure, but at only 18 there is time for him to fill out his frame.

A player of his height is rarely agile. However, Osorio has cat-like agility. He can dance past defenders like a player 20 cm shorter could. I would describe Osorio as deceptively quick. You know how Kai Havertz looks much lower than Timo Werner for example but in reality, there isn’t that much between them. The same thing happens to Osorio. He doesn’t see as fast as he really is because of his height. His acceleration is visibility great though. He can improve on his athleticism a lot in the future. Because he is so young and slim, he could benefit from specialised nutrition and training so he can become a truly elite athlete.

Despite his height, Osorio would be an ineffective traditional striker as he is not that strong or good in the air. However, he is very agile and quick enough to evade defenders that would prefer to battle with him. So that isn’t too problematic in the Campeonato Chileno but strength would be an area for improvement if he wants to succeed in an elite European league and fulfil his potential. U de Chile even use his size and positioning as the launchpad for U de Chile to counter-attack.

I think that even if Osorio were only 165 cm tall, U de Chile would still use him as their outlet for many of their counter-attacks. The reason is his spectacular first touch. He can stop the ball dead with his feet or chest effortlessly and has phenomenal close control. Combined with (significantly) above-average athleticism, this concoction creates a celestial dribbler.

Imagine you’re a coach leading a training session in which the difficulty ramps up periodically. A session aimed at training dribbling. So you set up some cones and tell Osorio to run through them with the ball. So he does, perfectly. Then you add more cones and bring them all closer together. Osorio glides through the cones without breaking a sweat. In every match I have seen this young man play, he manages to weave his way through the smallest of gaps between opposition players with such grace that it makes for compelling viewing.

His technical excellence also, surprisingly for a winger, extends to passing. Osorio has the ability, but also the desire, to drop deep and pass the ball like a central midfielder. With his left foot, he can play; quick one-twos, cross-field balls and raking long passes to the feet of an on-running teammate, from the right of midfield. Further up the pitch, he can slide elegant through-balls past bewildered defenders because he can see the opportunities and has the aptness to execute the passes.

In terms of shooting, Osorio likes to shoot from range quite often. Perhaps, he is shooting from far out because his teammates are not good enough to help him progress the ball into the box. Maybe he would shoot from more sensible positions in a better team. But that remains to be seen. Yes, he scored from range in this match and could reach double-digits in goals for U de Chile this season, so he is a natural goalscorer, but he should learn to shoot from closer to the goal to get better quality chances and hopefully, even more goals. Of course, his technique is superb, so this makes me think that constantly shooting from range could be coached out of him. It is a very useful skill to have, he will still be able to score from range when needed, but the point is he could score even more goals. Better shooting positions are the answer.

One more thing I think Osorio could do to improve is to develop his weaker right foot. If he could be comfortable using his right foot, then he would become an entirely unpredictable, either-sided winger. A player archetype that is very rare.

I enjoy observing players to figure out what makes them tick and why they do what they do. Dario Osorio is very young. He was born in 2004 and is already starring for one of the biggest clubs in Chile, receiving call-ups for the senior Chilean national team and is observed with great intrigue by scouts globally. So it would be fair to say he would need to be a mentally strong person to deal with that pressure.

He is, to an extent. But I saw that sometimes when he gets tacked or loses the ball after a dribble attempt, he sulks and needs a while to clear his head and forget about the minor setback. Sometimes Osorio can lack a bit of conviction, belief and determination in his own abilities. This could be helped enormously by him having coaches and a manager that believe in him wholeheartedly. He needs to feed off that enthusiasm and have a high-performing environment to thrive. U de Chile is not that club at the moment.

This is a bit of a secondary issue, but football is ultimately a team sport. So therefore communication with your teammates is important. Likely as a result of his youth and reserved nature, Osorio is not an eager or frequent communicator. He seems happiest when left to play his own game. This problem is exasperated by his lack of a consistently good work rate. Lazy would be too harsh, so reluctant to help defensively would be apt. He can often leave his full-back isolated and isn’t overly fond of tracking runners. It needs to be said that even with the increased responsibility he has at U de Chile, Osorio does work a bit harder and defend more. However, for Chile U20 he looks completely disinterested in defending. Maybe he feels too good for the U20 international level? This wouldn’t be wrong, although, a little application has to be expected.

At the moment Osorio is a technical leader on the pitch rather than a physiological, classic leader type. Osorio has an Eden Hazard-esque ability to elevate a poor team on his own. He can lead by example with his attacking quality, but I would be very surprised to see him given any sort of captaincy. A player of his technical ability ought to be composed. Thankfully, Osorio oozes composure.

There is one more thing about Osorio. He seems to be better without time. What do I mean by this? Well, he makes the right decisions naturally and instinctively rather than slowly and thoughtfully. He can tend to overthink or overcomplicate things when given time. He is much better in tight spaces and difficult situations where his natural ability can take over.

Rating – A1

Undoubtedly, Osorio was born to play football at the highest level. He is good enough right now to play regularly for the Chilean senior national team and could be a key player for Chile over the next 15 years.

As good as he is now, he can still improve. Osorio needs to work harder and mature. I hope that with age and time he can develop his mental and physical attributes so he can fulfil his world- class potential. I’d say he’s a stylistically similar player to Ángel Di María. Time will tell if he can have a career worthy of that comparison. I hope he can.

If Osorio can adapt to European football and work on his weaknesses, I think he could play at a Champions League level club in the future and would be a good sub €8M risk for an ambitious club to take.

Agustín Arce

Player Profile:

• Nationality: Chilean
• Age: 17
• Date of birth: 24/01/2005
• Current club: Club Universidad de Chile
• Career: Club Universidad de Chile U19, Club Universidad de Chile
• Position: Attacking-Midfielder
• Preferred foot: Right

Universidad de Chile youth academy prodigy Agustín Arce made his professional debut in this match at the age of 17. In a huge show of faith, the manager, or DT if you’re Chilean, had Arce starting in this match.

Arce is an attacking midfielder, currently only capable of playing in the number 10 position in a 4-2-3-1. He played as the attacking midfielder in this match and his style of play is very well suited to that position. He is a very creative and technically excellent player that will still improve immensely due to his very young age. Arce was a key playmaker in the team and was also trusted to take some set pieces.

I could not find a definitive number for Arce’s height anywhere online. But he looks of average adult height at around 178 cm. His height at 17 is a strength as is his physical strength. Arce has an athletic build and looks like a robust player, which is unusual for a 17-year-old that I’d expect to be rather slight. He didn’t use his strength as much as he could have in this match as he seemed to be surprised by the level of physicality on offer. In fairness, this was Arce’s first senior appearance, having only played youth football until now.

It seemed that Acre is very slow. A rather languid playmaker type of a bygone era. He is either very slow or he never ran at full speed in this match. I would suspect that he would be an ineffective traditional, touchline winger. Even though he is very slow, he is only 17. So there is every chance he could develop into a powerful runner like Harry Kane. Not fast, but faster than he is now.

I could be wrong; but despite misplacing some passes and under-hitting others, I believe that Arce is an excellent technical midfielder. he just needs to get used to adult football. At only 17 he can control, manipulate and distribute the ball better than many more experienced players in the Chilean top flight.

Arce likes to play one-twos a lot and he does this very well. His short passing is excellent and his right-footed technique is really easy on the eye. When an opportunity occurs. Arce is more than capable of switching the play and of playing long passes into the channels with great accuracy. His first touch is great and is a good platform for his technical excellence.

Arce’s fantastic close control allows him to run forward with the ball into space. I can’t comment on his ability to dribble, as he didn’t in this match. Although, I wouldn’t want to rely on him to dribble with the ball much as he is too slow for this kind of role.

I observed Arce take 3 set pieces. One was a corner that was drilled low to the near post in what must have been an attempt at an innovative set-piece routine, it failed, but Arce’s corner reached its intended target. The other two were both free kicks. To my surprise, both were on target and hit with considerable venom. However, both were too close to the goalkeeper to go in. The 100% accuracy rate in this match suggests to me that Arce is probably a very good set-piece taker, as he showed so in this match. More importantly, though, his teammates think so too as they allowed him to take these set pieces and did not argue with him. Again, he just needs to get used to the higher quality of goalkeeping.

This is just a basic report on Arce. I really like what I saw from him on his debut and I will track his progress in order to write a very detailed report in the future. Now though, I cannot say as much as I would like about Arce’s mentality, personality and demeanour.

He seems to work quite hard and even managed to track a runner once. Arce seemed rather unfazed by the high-pressure cup tie and played fairly well, so another positive sign. I can comment on what I perceived to be a very high footballing IQ for his age. Arce was always in a pocket of space to receive passes, scanned the pitch often and he often knew what he wanted to do with the ball before receiving it. He regularly drifted out to the right half-space when it was vacated by the much more dynamic Osorio to receive and pass the ball in that area. I was impressed by his understanding of space, his strong decision making and his ability to handle a lot of pressure and high expectations.

Rating – A2

I normally mention a well-known player to help those who haven’t watched these players play visualise them. However, although I have a decent idea, I will not be making a comparison yet. That will come in a later report on Arce after he has played more senior matches or I have watched some of his youth team performances.

What is abundantly clear is that Arce has talent. And a lot of it. His best position is as an attacking midfielder but I would like to see him learn to play in a midfield trio to add versatility to his arsenal. An advanced 8 role would suit his strengths very well. Stay tuned for a second report. This kid is exciting.

José Castro

Player Profile:
• Nationality: Chilean
• Age: 20
• Date of birth: 13/10/2001
• Current club: Club Universidad de Chile
• Career: Club Universidad de Chile U19, Club Universidad de Chile
• Position: Left-Back
• Preferred foot: Left

20 years old U de Chile academy product, José Castro, played at his natural position of left-back in this match. His role was to stop the opposition right-winger, help build out from the back and to get forward and support attacks when appropriate.

José crossed the ball often and took free kicks from deep positions on the left side of the pitch. I would describe his overall performance in this match as fine. He could have been worse, but there is plenty of room for improvement. At only 20, there is still time for him to develop. Especially, since Colo-Colo captain and fellow left-back, 25 years-old Gabriel Suazo, was by all accounts nothing special until pretty recently.

t 178 cm tall and with a normal build, Castro appears quite unremarkable physically. He isn’t that slow for the Chilean league and his acceleration is pretty good, but he doesn’t have the physical gifts required to dominate a flank. Castro showed decent strength at times and won most of his ariel duels.

A better technical player than a physical one, Castro is pretty good on the ball. His short passes with his strong left foot are accurate and quick. He likes to play one-twos and is capable of helping his team maintain possession. His first touch is fine too.

Castro crossed often in this match. Both from open play and from free kicks. Almost none of these crosses reached their intended target. So although he likes to cross, he isn’t great at it and should work on improving this skill. His free-kick- taking didn’t threaten the opposition either.

As a defender, Castro is quite good when facing anyone who isn’t a fast and tricky winger. He can do the simple things well and he can defend well so he looks good. His tackling is quite good but he struggled against a quick and tricky opposition winger. I noticed that Castro didn’t show the winger wide when it was painfully obvious that the player was very one-footed and was evidently looking to cut inside.

I don’t know how much of these mental weaknesses will improve with time, but some of them probably will. Castro tends to switch off sometimes and lose his concentration. His composure is rather poor so he is more comfortable clearing the ball rather than maintaining possession.

As a defender, competitive aggression is important, yet Castro only has it sometimes. In the first half, he was often beaten to the ball or ducked out of challenges. The second half was an improvement as he was more fired up and more effective.

Rating – B2

José Castro is a fairly good player in the Chilean league. There are a lot of positives to his game and plenty of negatives. He is only 20 years old so there is potential to improve and Castro could maybe be a strong player for la U in the future. Aside from the gulf in set piece quality, Castro is a fairly similar player to current Sevilla player, Alex Telles. I would not recommend signing Castro yet.

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