Ecuador faced Argentina on day 2 of the Copa Ciudad de Ezeiza. The game ended in favour of La Mini Tri by 3-1 with a maradonian goal by Kendry Páez in the first minute of the match. Then, Allen Obando and Anthony Montezuma scored in the 79th and 90+7th minute respectively. Ecuador seted up a 4-3-3 formation that often changed to a 4-4-2 off possession. La Albiceleste made quite a few changes from their previous encounter and were missing some important players like Prestianni or Echeverri. The game was a constant back and forth, but there was a clear tactical dominance from Ecuador for most of the game, who attracted Argentina into his half and then killed them off on the counter attack. Ecuador’s style was not very different from what is seen in the adult first team, which show the seriousness of their project in every aspect, which has already borne results not only at the professional level but also at youth level, as will be seen below.
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
- Nationality: Ecuador
- Age: 15
- Date of Birth: 4/05/2007
- Current club: Independiente del Valle
- Career: Independiente del Valle
- Position: Central Midfielder
- Secondary Position: Attacking Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Left
Páez started the game as a right winger in the formation but his real task was positioning himself as the attacking midfielder with total freedom around the right side of the pitch, constantly going down to receive the ball to start the offensive build up. There was no need to watch several games, nor even half an hour. 1:30 minutes was enough to see what Páez is made of. After take on the ball in the middle, the Ecuadorian advanced with it and in the space of 2 seconds he passed on 4 opponents in a fast feet movement until he reached the box and scored with his right foot at the far post. It was a formidable play full of technical gesture and physical ability. The Ecuadorian is around 1.75m and has a lean build, but that does not deprive him of being an excellent player under physical pressure. Páez held his ground quite easily in the duels and reached his max speed in a matter of seconds, having great acceleration on the run and making good use of his body in physical duels. The Ecuadorian showed a flawless ball control and was able to use both feet with no differentiation on the technical quality of them, making changes of directions that made him look pretty light on his movements. When Ecuador started the build up from the back, Paéz used to drop down to the centre from the right flank and was the target man to receive. In those situations, he showed great agility in turning when receiving and used to advance until he found space to make a definitive pass or either dribbling an opponent if had the chance. He attempted some great through balls, which were precise but did not always reach their destination, as the 15-year-old sometimes rushed it when trying to play more collectively. He was very creative and showed the ability to generate chances with a great vision multiple times, playing also a part in Ecuador’s second goal with a great diagonal pass to the left flank that then with a cross made it 2-1.
Paez occupied the spaces excellently and this was exploited thanks to the tactical and positional freedom he had. His ability to be in the right place in attacking transitions is probably one of the factors that make him different from the rest and to set tactical instructions or specific tasks to this type of player would be just to limit him. He sometimes tried to take the ball back when losing it but didn’t show much sacrifice in defence, staying in his position when Argentina started the counter attack. He clearly makes the difference when having the ball at his feet. The Ecuadorian was individualist at times and lost the possession by being on the ball too much. The reason for this –apart from having the ability to get past multiple opponents at the same time- is also his mentality, he was seen with a lot of determination since he entered the pitch until he left it, however that desire to win was overshadowed when he lost the ball or made bad decisions, situations in which he blamed his teammates instead of taking responsibility for his mistakes.
Páez is still a very young player, and I don’t think it would be the best decision to debut in professional football at 15 knowing the repercussion that he is already generating. He has to make the most of this time to still improving on his physical and mental aspects. On the other hand, it is not difficult to notice that he is a very polished talent at his young age, and if I compare his abilities with those of an average player in his position in the Ecuadorian Serie A I don’t see any differences that would make me go for a rating lower than 1. I think he has a huge potential and is in the safe hands of Independiente del Valle, whom surely will take this case without any haste.
- Nationality: Ecuador
- Age: 15
- Date of Birth: 28/01/2007
- Current club: Liga Deportiva Universitaria Quito
- Career: Independiente del Valle – Liga Deportiva Universitaria Quito
- Position: Centre back
- Preferred foot: Right
Davis played at right centre-back in an Ecuadorian defensive line that had its work cut out in what was a tough match. The 15 year old was able to control his zone physically and positionally by making life impossible to the Argentinian number 9, who never felt comfortable in front of the imposing presence of the two Ecuadorian centre backs. Ivis is around 1.80m tall and has a normal build relative to his age, which he used quite well to impose himself in body to body duels as well as in possession to protect the ball, looking like a pretty strong and dominant player in these situations. At his young age he is already an athlete in every sense of the word, also being able to win duels at speed and holding his ground with visible ease in clash disputes. He was able to leave his position to cover the right back returning quickly and efficiently at times, although in this respect his tactical awareness was not always the best, as at times he tended to press higher out of his position leaving gaps in the defensive line.
In this sense he was backed up by his good defensive positioning during the match, although he did not always make the best decisions off the ball by arriving late to some plays, in others his ability to be aware of what was happening where the ball was and the movements of the opposing striker at the same time was quite remarkable, he clearly had his mind on the game. Davis often positioned himself close to his opponent waiting to intercept and was good at doing so by imposing himself with his body rather than just tackling, showing great timing on this situations. Davis was very comfortable in possession and led the team build up from the back despite Argentina’s pressure. He tended to look for the low vertical pass looking for the midfielder although he had no trouble advancing forward if having the chance. The Ecuadorian showed decent technical ability with his right foot in his mid-range passes and when controlling the ball, looking quite confident in possession. His vertical passing ended up being somewhat repetitive, perhaps due to a tactical instruction. However, he was very useful in possession for Ecuador as he often found the free midfielder.
He was not seen in many 1v1 encounters where could judge his agility in turning or in aerial balls, but he had good mobility and displayed presence in the box. As it normal he still needs to mature in his reading of the game, as in some low crosses he was too slow to cover his mark and almost cost a goal, although I think he can quickly improve this aspect due to his concentration. At his young age, Davis showed leadership traits by leading the defensive line with plenty of personality, cheering his teammates or waking them up on every play. He is a talkative player who wants to have everything under control. He doesn’t lack presence or competitiveness and is clearly a team player.
It is unusual for a 15-year-old to play in another country in a crowded stadium against a tough opposition. Davis showed character in such a context and looked the most experienced player mentally despite being the youngest. Of very interesting defensive and mental attributes, he has yet to improve tactically. He is a player to watch more closely, I think he demonstrated a great potential.