Orense SC U19 – Match Report vs. Libertad U19 (24/06/2023)

The under 19’s of Orense took on Libertad U19 in the Ecuadorian U19 league. The hosts fielded a young team, while Libertad fielded several players who were at the age of 21 or older. While this would usually mean that Libertad would have the upper hand physically, the age difference wasn’t reflected to their performance on the pitch. It was quite a balanced game with both sides creating multiple chances. After Erick Zambrano’s opening goal, Libertad quickly equalized from a corner-kick. However, a corner-kick of Orense led to the winning goal through Ariel Castillo. Libertad created a few more chances but Jeremy Cobos (2008, GK) looked solid in goal.

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

Erick Zambrano

  • Nationality: Ecuador
  • Age: 15
  • Date of birth: 14/11/2007
  • Club: Orense SC
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: Left-Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Erick Zambrano started the game as a left-winger, but shifted to the striker position late in the game after subs were made. The attacker stands at around 1.70-1.75 meters but seemingly has a strong build with good strength in his upper body. Zambrano has very good acceleration on the ball, especially for this level. His pace over longer distances was also very good. Zambrano changed directions quickly while dribbling. Though, after beating one or two opponents, he consistently seemed to be slowing down his actions, making it harder for him to also get past that third opponent. Zambrano looked really strong in shoulder-to-shoulder duels, also because of his strong build. The Ecuadorian attacker displayed great athleticism and flexibility during this match, controlling some tough aerial balls really well.

Even though I felt like he was a bit wasted out on the left, he had much impact on the game offensively. Zambrano consistently managed to dribble past his opponents, took good, progressive touches and looked one level ahead of the rest, despite being the second-youngest Orense player. His technical base is very good, though he definitely needs to work on his long passing technique. Zambrano has good close control while dribbling, has a decent but sometimes sloppy first touch and generally displayed good one-touch play. The 15-year-old displayed excellent vision and composure in the final third, looking over the ball before cutting the ball back to a teammate who failed to score. Zambrano scored a goal himself from the edge of the box, displaying his excellent striking technique. One thing I analysed this match that I didn’t like is that he tends to avoid his weaker right foot. Zambrano does everything with his left foot.

In transition, Zambrano displayed his excellent pace and mentality to track back and help his team out defensively. He displayed impressive stamina for a 15-year-old and was still making runs in behind in the last few minutes.

Rating – 2

While I am very curious to see how his current level will translate to Orense’s first team, it remains to be seen if he is already good enough to be involved in the first team. Though, I believe he is a player with very high potential and he should definitely be on the list for the Under 17 World Cup in Indonesia, even though there is a lot of competition (Obando, Bermudez, etc.). Zambrano is in my opinion a striker, and not a winger.

Ariel Castillo

  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Age: 17
  • Date of birth: 07/09/2005
  • Club: Orense
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Ariel Castillo played 62 minutes as a left central midfielder for Orense under 19 against Libertad. Castillo has a very tall frame (around 1.85m) with an average build. He has decent speed over short and long distances. Castillo looked strong and tenacious in physical duels, timing his interceptions strongly and being very successful in duels. He displayed good jumping reach and strength in aerial duels. Castillo utilised his body well to draw fouls under pressure. The young Ecuadorian turns relatively quickly and is pretty mobile. He has the potential to develop his physique even more, which would make him even more effective in ground and physical duels. Castillo cuts passing lanes well and does not often get dragged out of position when opponents have settled possession.

The midfielder stood out with his excellent technical ability. Ariel Castillo displayed a good passing technique. He mostly relied on his stronger left foot and rarely used his right foot. Though, he was capable of avoiding his weaker foot by playing a nice outside-of-the-boot through pass which slightly lacked accuracy. Castillo did not display an extensive passing range as he rarely switched play. He mostly played short or medium-long passes. Though, he showed great vision to play some well-weighted line-breaking passes into the attack. Castillo made himself available in first-phase possession often, displaying a good first touch under pressure and a great technique in small spaces. He had good one-touch play. In the final third, he rarely liked to drift wide and displayed a good crossing technique from that area. Castillo also scored from a corner. He had a good shot from range as he displayed a good striking technique.

Rating – 2

Even though Ariel Castillo is not as talented as Erick Zambrano, I think Ariel Castillo could be an interesting target for lower-level Liga Pro teams, as well as top-level Liga Pro teams where he would join their U19’s. He has a good physical profile, a promising technical base and seems tactically adept.

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