Vicente Reyes is a 19-year-old goalkeeper with dual Chilean and U.S. citizenship, who has chosen to play for the Chilean youth teams. Reyes has represented Chile at U17 and U20 levels. The talented goalkeeper was called up to train with the senior Chilean national team but did not play in a match. He was born in Charleston, USA and plays his club football for Atlanta United 2. He seems to be a very highly regarded academy product and I hope there is a plan and a pathway for him to play in the Atlanta United first team at some point in the 2023 MLS season.
At 194 cm, Reyes has the height and reach to claim crosses and deal with shots into the corners of the goal frame. Unlike other tall goalkeepers though, Reyes has supreme agility and brilliant reflexes. He showed his ability to spring into action like a cat and prevent very well-taken shots from going in. Reyes managed to stop shots with his hands and feet. Neither low drives nor powerful strikes heading into the roof of the net got past him. Surprisingly for a goalkeeper, Reyes seemed to be very quick off the mark. This helped him to dominate his box and sweep effectively. Reyes made several very athletically impressive saves that allowed Chile to win matches and also saved a penalty with a good dive to his left.
Reyes is a technically accomplished goalkeeper. He started every attack with an accurate short pass to a defender, a throw to the defensive midfielder or a thunderous long pass to a wide winger. Reyes had all of these things in his arsenal and was a huge part of Chile’s wins. His first touch is great and he doesn’t look clumsy or anxious with the ball at his feet. Perhaps the thing that makes Reyes even more impressive is that he caught almost every shot. Whenever possible, Reyes caught the ball from shots and crosses so that Chile kept possession and momentum. But when he couldn’t catch the ball he was still calculated. Reyes seemed to angle his hands at about 45 degrees so that when the ball hit his hands and bounced off them, it wouldn’t rebound to an opposition player. He would then quickly dive onto the ball so he had possession of it. A genius tactic that seems so sensible, yet this is the first time I’ve noticed a player do it.
To get a true sense of how good a goalkeeper is, I believe he must be observed in two very different game states. The first, when Chile had a lot of possession and Reyes faced no shots for a prolonged period. The second, when Chile was under intense pressure from the opposition, facing many shots and having low possession. In the first game state, he was a reliable passing outlet and showed remarkable concentration to make that save or two when called upon. In the second, Reyes also impressed. Ever composed and calculated, he communicated well with the defenders, stopped many good strikes from elite young attacking talents such as Vitor Roque and Marcos Leonardo and claimed seemingly every cross.
Reyes only just turned 19 but already plays like a 29-year-old goalkeeper. He has everything I want to see in a goalkeeper, he is excellent on the ball, a superb shot-stopper and mature far beyond his years. If the perfect modern sweeper-keeper were made in a lab, they would be like Vicente Reyes. I think he could have a very bright future if he keeps playing this well for club and country. In the coming months, he should aim to break into senior football for his club and country. Chile, but especially Atlanta United should give him that opportunity as I don’t think he will be in MLS for long. I think Vicente Reyes could be a first-choice goalkeeper for a club in the top 5 European leagues in the future, but a club like Porto could take a chance on him first. Porto will likely sell Diogo Costa soon and should bring Reyes to Portugal, while they still can.