Sudamericano 2013: Paraguay U20s report card

Despite the dampener of defeat on the final day (just look at their faces in the photo below!) the Paraguay U20s players and coaching staff should be very pleased with their performances in Mendoza which culminated in a 2nd place finish and of course an invaluable spot in the U20s World Cup which takes place later this year in Turkey.

Sad faces despite qualification! - Photo: Prensa Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Sad faces despite qualification! – Photo: Prensa Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Here I’ve done a quick report card for the main squad members, like all ratings systems of this kind it isn’t perfect but hopefully gives you an idea of the major performers and the ones to look out for over the course of the year.

Diego Morel (Goalkeeper, Libertad)

Diego Morel - AFP/Daniel Garcia

Diego Morel – AFP/Daniel Garcia

Started the tournament with a howler that cost them the game against Colombia but as the competition progressed he proved to be a very good shot stopper and a safe pair of hands, needs improvement under the high ball and command of his area. 6/10

Teodoro Paredes (Centre-back/Right-back, Cerro Porteño)

Teodoro Paredes - AP Photo/Walter Moreno

Teodoro Paredes – AP Photo/Walter Moreno

The big man from Caaguazú showed plenty of power and strength but also has the technique to be comfortable at full back, his disciplinary record let him down with four yellow cards in the tournament it isn’t a mental problem more a question of timing his tackles. 7/10

Gustavo Gomez (Centre-back, Libertad)

Gustavo Gomez  - Photo: Prensa Selección Paraguaya de Fútbol

Gustavo Gomez – Photo: Prensa Selección Paraguaya de Fútbol

The captain was very strong  throughout the Sudamericano, he’ll be disappointed with his sending off but in general he defended well, marshalled his troops and almost led them onto glory. 8/10

Matías Perez (Centre-back, Nacional)

Matias Perez celebrates in the victory against Chile - Photo: D10.com.py

Matias Perez celebrates in the victory against Chile – Photo: D10.com.py

A good tournament from a player who has played his fair share of senior football already, his three goals are evidence of his strength from set pieces and in general he was unruffled at the back. 7/10

Jorge Manuel Balbuena (Left wing-back, Cerro Porteño)

Balbuena looked good at times going forward, strong in patches defensively but didn’t shine consistently and it wasn’t easy with the defender often helplessly exposed at left wing-back. 6/10

Jorge Rojas (Right wing-back/Right winger/Attacking midfielder, Cerro Porteño)

Jorge Rojas (with hair!) -  Photo: abc.com.py

Jorge Rojas (with hair!) – Photo: abc.com.py

Arguably the best performer in the side he showed pace, power, dribbling skills and awareness to finish the Sudamericano with 2 goals and 3 assists. His versatility was something new, we are used to him as an out-and-out winger with the azulgrana but Víctor Genes moved him into a central role for some games where he impressed. Sure to have caught the eye of some European scouts. 9/10

Rodrigo Alborno (Left midfield, Novara)

Rodrigo Alborno's goal at the tournament - Photo: ABC

Rodrigo Alborno’s goal at the tournament – Photo: ABC

More was expected from Alborno, if only because he has been so good at Inter Milan and is now a Serie B regular – there were certainly flashes of his talent including that well-taken goal against Chile but he let himself down at times with the basics, short passing and deliveries from the dead ball. 6/10

Miguel Almirón (Central midfield, Cerro Porteño)

 Miguel Almiron

Miguel Almiron

A revelation in the middle, while he looks like a stick insect he is full of energy and was a yard quicker than most of the midfielders in the tournament. A lovely range of passing with an eye for the important through ball he also has that canny knack of making room for himself in crowded spots of the pitch. 8/10

Derlis Gonzalez (Striker, Benfica)

The Benfica striker was excellent  - Photo: D10.com.py

The Benfica striker was excellent – Photo: D10.com.py

Solid proof that there are benefits to leaving for Europe at a young age if you are going to get regular football, his time with the Benfica II side has seen Gonzalez develop much more tactical nouse while he still frightens defenders with his searing pace and his clinical finishing. An excellent tournament finishing with 4 goals and 2 assists and maybe posing a question to Pelusso and the senior side. 9/10

Cecilio Dominguez (Striker, Sol de América)

Cecilio Dominguez battles for the ball

Cecilio Dominguez battles for the ball

More than a ‘number 9’ he showed that he is a well rounded player with good skill and the ability to play in a three or a two up front. The fact he only scored one goal doesn’t mean he played badly, he brings in the players around him and created a good partnership with Derlis Gonzalez. 7/10

Others

Juan Villamayor (Striker, Libertad) – nippy, good set piece delivery

Ivan Ramirez (Midfielder, Libertad) – one tremendous performance against Argentina, essentially a ball winner

Angel Lucena (Midfielder, Rubio Ñu) – got better during the competition, needs to improve balance between attacking and defending

Robert Piris (Midfielder, Rubio Ñu) – didn’t impose himself as much as expected considering the amount of senior football he has played, still a talent worth watching

Brian Montenegro (Forward, Tacuary) – inconsistent but at times was very good especially drifting to left to create space for Derlis Gonzalez

Junior Alonso (Defender, Cerro Porteño) – two important goals and clearly a quality left-back but not as suited to being a wing-back

Miller Mareco (Defender, Libertad) – game in during the final stages and like Alonso looks better in a more defensive role

By Ralph Hannah

5 responses to “Sudamericano 2013: Paraguay U20s report card

  1. Pingback: Sudamericano 2013: Paraguay U20s report card | The Paraguay ... | Paraguay | Scoop.it

  2. According to Portuguese media, Rojas is on the verge of signing for Benfica. Any feedback of this possible deal in the Paraguayan media?

    Cheers

    • Hi Nuno, for a few weeks there has been a link here between Rojas and Benfica, his agent is the same person who took Gonzalez and Correa to Benfica, but I think Cerro will want money for him, at least 3-4 million euros so it could be difficult!

      • Thanks for the feedback. If he is a winger benfica has plenty so I don’t think They will pay such amounts. But, if I understood correctly, a can perform as a box-to-box. In such case benfica should willing to pay 3/4 mil.
        Well… It can also happen that the coach decides he is to play where rojas never played before… Go no further than Melgarejo – from playing upfront last year to a world-class left-back in the making this season.

        Cheers

  3. Pingback: Paraguay Abroad: Paraguayan footballers playing in Europe 2013/14 season | The Paraguay Football Blog

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