UNAM Pumas – Match Report vs D.C. United (29/07/2023)

UNAM Pumas handily defeated D.C United 3-0 in League’s Cup action. D.C. United rotated some key players out of the lineup and this proved to be a mistake as their slightly under-strength lineup was soundly beaten by a much stronger Liga MX side. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Cesar Huerta

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 03/12/2000
  • Current club: UNAM Pumas
  • Career: Chivas Guadalajara, Zacatepic (L), Morelia (L), Mazatlan (L)
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred foot: Left

Cesar Huerta played on the left wing for Pumas in this match. He showed a number of promising skills but I suspect he would be better off in a more central role. Huerta is a very strong ball carrier. He moves with a lot of speed and power. Huerta is very small but he has a low centre of gravity and is capable of holding off bigger players, at least for a time. Huerta scored one goal and almost had another strong chance generated by cutting inside from the left wing. However, he was not quite consistent enough in turning these situations into shots for himself or others.

Huerta is also a creative passer. Because of his starting position being higher up the pitch he was mostly in the position of making shorter-range passes in behind the last line of D.C United’s defence. He was extremely good at finding seams to slip the ball into and at making outlet passes which advanced Pumas’ attack during transition moments. But he did not often directly set up teammates. He made a lot of passes that set up the assister. These attacking skills, to me, suggest Huerta is better suited to playing as an aggressive #8. There his ball-carrying and passing would still be very useful, but there would be less pressure on him to produce directly. Huerta has played in midfield roles, and even as a striker, in the past. But I think an attacking #8 is the best home for him. Huerta put in quite a lot of defensive work. His speed makes him a good presser and he is quite a good 1v1 defender. 

Rating: A1

I think Huerta could make the step up to a higher level, probably to a big club outside Europe’s top 5, if he is played in a deeper role. Mexican players are quite expensive so getting him might be a challenge. 

Jorge Ruvalcaba

  • Nationality: American and Mexican
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 23/07/2001
  • Current club: UNAM Pumas 
  • Career: F.C Golden State, CSU San Bernardino Coyotes 
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Jorge Ruvalcaba played as a right-winger for Pumas in this game. He showed a lot of technical skill but I was left with serious questions about his physical profile. Ruvalcaba is right-footed but showed a propensity for cutting inside and at times to drop deeper to get on the ball. Ruvalcaba demonstrated outstanding technical ability and flair. He frequently utilised his creativity to solve problems with backheels, flicks, or other skills. He demonstrated strong vision, able to play dangerous passes behind DC’s defence. He is also quite quick, able to get in behind opposing defences. But the massive drawback to Ruvalcaba’s game is that he is very weak physically.

There were many times when Ruvalcaba almost pulled off an incredible move, seemingly beating a player with a nutmeg or a feint, only for that defender to recover, put his shoulder into Ruvalcaba, and that was the end of that. Ruvalcaba gives the ball away constantly because he’s just so easy to push off the ball. There was one moment where he was seemingly through on goal, only for Donovan Pines to get close enough to put some physical pressure on him and force him into a much less dangerous shot. Like Huerta, Ruvalcaba showed some effectiveness in pressing. He is not strong but he is fast and that makes him able to close players down. However, he was a lot less likely to actually win the ball back than Huerta was. 

Rating: A2

Ruvalcaba clearly has a great deal of technical ability and a certain degree of effectiveness. His fbref page is a wall of green in all of the attacking statistics, and he has a very strong goal-contribution record in his young career. But, I’m sorry, I’m a little skeptical of anyone who can be stopped in their tracks so consistently by the likes of Donovan Pines, Derrick Williams, and Gaoussou Samake. It’s hard to see a player like that adapting to the physicality of a higher level, even if he is scoring effectively in a very good league at a young age. So he’s probably worth keeping an eye on but I wouldn’t be confident recommending him to bigger teams at this stage. 

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