Youri Ochoa is an 18-year-old central midfielder who currently plays in the famous youth academy of Independiente del Valle. The Ecuador-born midfielder played for the under 19’s last season, but also made his debut for the first team. Now, he mostly plays for Independiente Juniors in Serie B but he was also part of the Independiente del Valle under 20 team that lost the final of the U20 Copa Libertadores against Boca Juniors.
Standing at 1.73 meters with a small build, Youri Ochoa does not have a strong frame. Ochoa battles well in physical duels but needs to develop his physique as he mostly struggles in physical duels. He has decent timing and jumping reach in aerial duels but still loses most of the aerial duels because of his height. Ochoa has excellent acceleration on the ball in first-phase possession and is also quick over long distances too. He is agile and changes directions quickly, allowing him to use feints and stepovers effectively to get away from his opponents in first-phase possession.
Ochoa mainly plays as a left central midfielder in a 4-1-2-3 or 3-1-4-2. He is comfortable receiving under pressure but sporadically has a sloppy/inconsistent first touch. Ochoa likes to take a progressive touch, knowing when there is space to get forward. He has a good passing technique over both short and long distances, but occasionally fails to keep the ball on the ground playing line-breaking passes and can be slightly inconsistent with his passing. He can be an aggressive ball-carrier, displaying excellent ball control, speed and athleticism to progress the ball into the final third. Even though Ochoa sometimes still makes simple mistakes, such as playing a dangerous pass through the middle without looking, he displays a good choice of passing and decision-making, mainly in the final third. Ochoa has great vision and often spots runners in behind, while also having the capability to find the runners in behind with some nice chipped or scooped through passes.
Youri Ochoa often positions himself between the lines well, allowing himself more time and space on the ball. He likes to receive the ball in first-phase possession, mostly deciding to carry the ball forward or playing a diagonal pass towards one of the wingers/wing-backs. Ochoa is always in space, which helps Independiente del Valle progress the ball into midfield. He also makes very good use of space, as he recognizes when there’s space in behind and acts accordingly, making a run in behind. Ochoa also likes to make late runs into the box, proving his goal-scoring ability in the U20 Copa Libertadores where he displayed his decent finishing ability.
Defensively, Youri Ochoa displays great energy and intensity to consistently put pressure on the opponent’s midfield or defensive line, while also battling well in physical duels even though he is not the strongest physically. He displays okay defensive positioning, mostly staying in position but closing gaps out wide well occasionally. His timing to step up is good, and he is positively aggressive in physical duels.
Even though Youri Ochoa is still an inconsistent player who needs to develop his physique, I think Ochoa is a very interesting player for the top 5 leagues to monitor. He currently has the level to be a rotational player for the first team of Independiente del Valle but could grow into a player with the level to play in the Belgian Challenger League (second tier) within 12-18 months. As applies to many Ecuadorians, Belgium would be a logical next step after Ochoa conquers a place in the starting line-up.