Fluminense U20 – Match Report vs Imperatriz U20 (06/01/23)

Fluminense produced an emphatic victory over Imperatriz in their second Copinha match, running out 6-0 winners. Flu lined up in a 4-1-2-3 formation, though their offensive players were given license to roam and rotate throughout the 90 minutes, which Imperatriz found extremely difficult to get to grips with. It was a display of pure dominance from start to finish. All six goals came from different players, with winger, Isaac, contributing to half by registering one goal and two assists.

Youth Ratings

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

Isaac

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 24/04/2004
  • Club: Fluminense
  • Career: Fluminense
  • Position: Left-Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

As he did in Fluminense’s opening game, Isaac started on the left wing. During the opening exchanges, it became apparent that the winger had been given freedom to drift into central zones when Flu were in possession of the ball. When doing so, Isaac really began to shine. He displayed intelligence with his occupation of the left half-space, and also with his ball-reception. The 18-year-old ensured that his body was side-on when receiving in between the lines, enabling him to immediately see the picture ahead of him rather than turning into trouble. This led to Isaac creating clear goal-scoring opportunities on multiple occasions via wonderfully weighed defence-splitting passes; two of which resulted in Fluminense goals.

In spite of his slim build, Isaac’s ability to ride challenges when carrying the ball at pace is both an impressive and important aspect of his game. The winger’s balance and ball control when dribbling allows him to pose a constant threat to opposition back-lines. He’s particularly adept at exploiting transitional moments in thanks to his pace over long distances, though his acceleration over the first five yards means he’s also more than capable of scything through a low-block with relative ease. Isaac did also manage to get himself a goal, after connecting well with a header from a corner.

I was particularly pleased with Isaac’s willingness and ability to rotate with his fellow attackers. As previously alluded to, his drifting into the half-space eventually led to him creating two goals for his team, though he also showcased his capacity to rotate with his right-winger, and also right sided midfielder at times when in the midst of an attack. The fact that he remained a threat whilst doing so is a testament to his versatility. Isaac was withdrawn at half-time presumably due to the score line being 4-0 and the game subsequently wrapped up.

Rating – 2

I’ve now watched Isaac twice in the space of a few days, and both times he’s offered the most potent attacking threat out of any player on the pitch. If I could give a ‘1.5’ rating, I would. The only thing preventing me from bumping him up to a ‘1’, is the calibre of opposition I’ve seen him up against. I’d still like to see him tested against a stronger level of player. So long as he continues to develop and refine his game, I’d expect him to break into Fluminense’s first team at some point soon. A debut in 2023 seems inevitable.

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Arthur

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 24/02/2005
  • Club: Fluminense
  • Career: Fluminense
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Arthur is regarded by many as one of the most technically gifted footballers in Brazil’s 2005 generation. During the match against Imperatriz, he lined up as one of the two advanced midfielders — initially starting on the right, but as the game went on, he drifted from right, to central, to left all in an attempt to affect proceedings. As early as four minutes in, Arthur floated a sumptuous free kick into the box from the right hand side of the pitch, which ended up catching the keeper out and going in directly. This level of quality of delivery is something the attacking midfielder routinely displays. His ball-striking from set pieces in particular is, more often than not, superb.

Arthur’s biggest attributes are his balance and close control in tight spaces. His low centre of gravity enables him to slalom in and out of the challenges of onrushing opponents, whilst also remaining aware of what his next action is going to be. The 17-year-old is slight in build, though he does protect the ball well. Frequent scans and checks of the shoulder also aid this. That being said, he can occasionally look weak in duels, but there’s plenty of time for him to improve upon said deficiency. Arthur’s initial burst of pace over short distances is good; good enough to help him evade his marker. He doesn’t possess lightning-pace over long distances, though given the type of player he is, I don’t envisage that being a major issue.

Arthur’s footballing intelligence is extremely high. For someone of such tender age, he sees the game so well. Constantly, he looks to play slick, intricate, one touch combinations with team-mates when in and around the box. This was once again on show against Imperatriz. At times, his peers aren’t quite capable of producing accurate-enough touches to enable these combinations to bear fruit, though that does little to detract from what Arthur is looking to produce.

Rating – 2

There is absolutely no questioning Arthur’s footballing ability. In fact, he was handed his Fluminense debut in the Campeonato Carioca as a 16-year-old (and 8 days) back in 2021, making him Flu’s youngest-ever player. I fully expect him to become a first-team member for Fluminense in the future and, from there, the world’s his oyster.

Kayky Almeida

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 01/05/2005
  • Club: Fluminense
  • Career: Fluminense
  • Position: Centre-Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Kayky Almeida was deployed as the left centre-back in Fluminense’s back four during the win over Imperatriz. The most immediately striking thing about Kayky is his height. I can’t find any official records, but I’d estimate that he’s around 1.86m – 1.88m. Despite being quite so tall, his frame is relatively slender. When running at pace, he does look quite gangly, though he is deceptively quick. His initial acceleration is adequate, but it’s over longer distances where he seems to thrive. As you’d expect with someone of such height, Kayky’s aerial dominance is also clear to see.

In possession, Kayky was impressive. He regularly showcased his ability to thread line-breaking passes into his midfielders and attackers, bypassing the opposing first line of press. The crispness with which Kayky fired passes into his team-mates, ensuring they reached their target rather than leaving it to chance, was another pleasing element to his game. He looked the archetypal modern-day centre-back with the ball at his feet.

Kayky’s ability to nullify and cut off passing lanes did catch the eye. He showed good understanding of where he needed to be and, in general, was very astute positionally — rarely, if ever, finding himself being dragged out of position or attracted to the ball when there was no need to be. Throughout the match, the centre-back faced little in the way of one-on-one situations — although early in the first half, he did display his ability to pinch the ball away from opposition attackers with well-timed challenges. I’d be interested to see how this defensive performance would translate against a higher level of opposition.

Rating – 2

Kayky Almeida’s physical prowess, paired with his ability to progress the ball and general calmness when in possession, means it seems infeasible that he wouldn’t end up being given a chance in Fluminense’s first team at some point in the future. Though, ideally, I’ll be able to cast a closer eye over him when up against more challenging opponents.

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João Lourenço

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 15/07/2005
  • Current club: Fluminense
  • Career: Fluminense
  • Position: Right-Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

During their game against Imperatriz, João Lourenço was deployed on the right wing for Fluminense. This was my first time watching the 17-year-old winger, so I was a bit disappointed to see him withdrawn at half-time. That being said, he did showcase enough of his talent for me to be able to write about him.

João Lourenço is small in stature, though more stocky than slender in build. His lack of height is a key factor in his balance and explosiveness; a pivotal aspect of his game. The winger’s ability to shield the ball was impressive. On numerous occasions, he went shoulder-to-shoulder with far more physically imposing players than himself and most definitely held his own. João Lourenço’s pace over longer distances wasn’t really displayed as he didn’t have the opportunity to drive Flu up the pitch, though, given his acceleration, I’d imagine he’s capable of sustaining his running-speed over medium-to-long distances.

Technically, João Lourenço is proficient, if not overly-polished. Very tricky with the ball at his feet and when facing a man up. Once isolating his full-back, he would routinely attempt to beat him with a combination of pace and skill. It didn’t always come off, but the intent was there. The wide-man also showcased his final action. After playing a neat give-and-go with Isaac, João Lourenço calmly slotted the ball home with a good finish on his weaker left foot. At times, however, he did display an overeagerness to force the final pass. Contrary to Isaac, João Lourenço was far less measured in his attempts to split the Imperatriz back-line with a disguised pass. At times the pass was on, but his execution was poor. On other occasions, the pass simply wasn’t on to begin with.

Rating – 3

There was a lot to like about João Lourenço’s performance, and some who watched on may feel this rating is a bit harsh, but given the fact that it was my first time watching him and he was withdrawn at the break, I feel it’s only right to watch more of the player before giving a higher rating. Just 45 minutes is too small-a sample size for my liking. Though, the winger undoubtedly showed plenty of promise.

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