Feature Image: El Comercio
October has begun, and we are days away from another international break.
Luckily for Ricardo Gareca, two of his attacking options continue to bang in goals like nobody’s business. This duo cannot be stopped these days and they’ll hope that form leads to a start for the national team.
Before we dive into the roundup, here’s a quick list of players who usually see the pitch, but did not play.
Anderson Santamaría: Not called up. Likely due to playing in Copa MX in midweek.
Carlos Ascues/Yoshimar Yotún: No game for Orlando City.
Christian Ramos: Rested. No other reason given by Al-Nassr.
Jefferson Farfán: Injured. He will be back for the Champions League versus Schalke.
Pedro Aquino: Injured, but he should be fit for the friendlies.
Wilder Cartagena: Unused substitute.
Yordy Reyna: Adductor injury. Like Aquino, Reyna should be fine for the friendlies.
With that out of the way, here is your weekly in-depth roundup on 18 different Peruvians abroad.
Luis Advíncula is arguably the best Peruvian player in the world based on current form. He’s one of two Peruvian representatives in Europe’s top-five leagues and continues to dominate at Rayo Vallecano.
He scored his first goal for the club in midweek and followed up that match with another fantastic performance against Espanyol.
Luis Advincula is not going to stay at Rayo too long, I reckon. Solid defensively, and something happens every single time he gets on the ball offensively. A shame he didn't get to Spain before the age of 28.
— Jonas Giæver (@CheGiaevara) September 28, 2018
Advíncula had three tackles and completed 47 of his 52 passes (90 per cent accuracy) against Espanyol, covering tons of ground in the process.
The right-back also drew the decisive penalty to help Rayo pull level and secure the point. Advíncula sprinted into the box, held off the defender, who ended up tripping the Peruvian in the box in an effort to win possession.
Courtesy: La Liga
Advíncula has been faultless since he became a starter in Rayo’s second match. It wouldn’t be surprising if other clubs across Europe came calling at season’s end.
With Pedro Gallese’s time at Veracruz reaching the inevitable ending, he likely only has a pair of matches remaining until he joins Boca Juniors on loan with an option to buy.
If Boca progress past Cruzeiro in Copa Libertadores this week – which they should as they’re leading 2-0 entering the second leg – then they will complete the deal.
As for Gallese on the pitch, he must’ve wished he was already in Buenos Aires. León crushed Veracruz 4-0 on Friday evening, although none of the goals were his fault. In fact, Peru’s No. 1 was pretty resilient and made a few decisive stops to keep los Tiburones Rojos within reach.
However, Veracruz’s defence pushed high up the pitch and hung out their goalkeeper to dry. Still, Gallese kept producing some top-drawer saves, even with León continually pelting his goal.
After a fantastic performance last week, Sergio Peña had a much tougher task against Porto in Tondela’s 1-0 defeat.
On the bright side, Peña was playing as the most advanced midfielder in Tondela’s system. But his passing was woeful. The Peruvian was hounded by Porto’s midfield and only complete 58 per cent of his 29 passes.
Peña was far more effective when opting to dribble and won a couple of dangerous free kicks in doing so. The 23-year-old was eventually taken off in the 87th minute.
Make it seven goals in 11 MLS starts for Raúl Ruidíaz after bagging a brace in a convincing 4-0 win for the Seattle Sounders over the Colorado Rapids.
For the third straight game, the Sounders midfielders were able to provide quality service into Ruidíaz’s feet in the box.
Yes, Colorado is a poor side and these were tap-ins. But this is what Ruidíaz does best. Gareca has to ensure that Peru’s attack is tailored to the striker’s strengths. Those darting runs and latching onto low crosses are his specialty.
Cristian Benavente is back in the Peru squad, and he was clearly happy with the news because he scored his third goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Lokeren.
Benavente has now been involved in four goals in his last games for Charleroi, most of which have come from the left wing. Interestingly, Ricardo Gareca pointed this out in his press conference on Friday and sounds keen to deploy Benavente out wide.
The 24-year-old made the switch to begin the month of September and has enjoyed an amazing run of form. Yet he doesn’t actually stay positioned on the left. He will cut inside and try to influence the game within Zone 14, as seen below.
This time Benavente did hug the touchline more often compared to previous games. But his goal still came from a central position.
Other chances were also generated in the centre of the pitch, including this blocked shot and the subsequent run.
Clearly Benavente is afforded creative freedom, so he can dribble inside whenever the situation presents itself. Starting from the wing and moving inside is ideal because it expands and constricts the defence. This can unlock some open pockets of space for both himself and his teammates. Let’s see if Gareca replicates this next week.
Even in defeat, Alexander Callens was his usual consistent self.
He registered four tackles, three interceptions and completed 81 per cent of his 59 passes. Callens wasn’t as accurate with his distribution due to Minnesota United’s press. That forced the Peruvian to launch the ball forward.
In the end, Callens missed out on the Peru squad when it was reported that he was being considered by Gareca. Considering the plethora of depth at centre-back, it might be difficult for the NYCFC defender to crack the next few rosters.
Alexi Gómez started his first match for Minnesota United since Aug. 4 over the weekend. Gómez was an unused substitute in the previous six games.
As usual, Gómez was deployed as a left wingback against New York City FC. Given his inactivity over the past several weeks, he did very well in this match. The 25-year-old consistently ran at the NYCFC defence, although he tended to hold onto the ball too long.
He was decent defensively as well, although it’s obvious that this isn’t his strong suit. All things considered, this was a solid return for Gómez.
Andy Polo was brilliant for the Portland Timbers over the weekend. Their match finished 0-0 with FC Dallas, but he was spraying the ball across the pitch all game long.
Polo was almost playing two different roles. Giovanni Savarese seemingly deployed a diamond midfield with the Peruvian operating on the right. However, he drifted to the touchline and cut inside very often in this match.
I still think Polo needs to settle into the role because he’s still a bit too inconsistent when he starts in midfield. But this is exactly the type of direct play that Peru lacks, so maybe the 24-year-old has a future in the centre of the pitch.
The season is coming to a close, and Polo is on loan from Monarcas Morelia, so hopefully the Timbers end up buying him so his development can continue.
Pinch yourself, throw cold water in your face or whatever you need to do, because I’m going to reveal something shocking.
Miguel Trauco has started three consecutive matches for Flamengo for the first time since Dec. 2017. Even better news for the Peruvian arrived in midweek when Mauricio Barbieri was sacked after the team lost to Corinthians in the Copa do Brasil. Dorival Junior replaced Barbieri and started Trauco against Bahia over the weekend.
He wasn’t as solid in this match compared to his previous two starts, but he’s playing regularly again which is obviously fantastic news. However, there were a couple of concerns from the 0-0 draw.
Firstly, Trauco’s defensive positioning is still appalling. He has to jockey the player on the ball here, but doesn’t do this, which leads to a shot on target.
Trauco is either too eager or not quick enough to react when he has to close down an opponent. This is largely why he’s struggled defensively over the past year. He lost seven of his 10 defensive duels in this match, which shouldn’t happen to an international full-back.
At least Trauco is still solid going forward. He completed about 90 per cent of his passes, most of which progressed the ball forward. As long as that stays consistent, Trauco will be favoured to start for Flamengo.
André Carrillo was back on the pitch for Al-Hilal after a brief injury spell, helping his side defeat Al-Shabab 1-0 in the Arab Champions Cup.
Carrillo logged 56 minutes in his return and was, as usual, far too good to be on that field. He set up two scoring chances and nearly converted one of his own in just a 20-minute span.
Carrillo is back in the latest Peru squad, so for now, Gareca is still convinced that he can still contribute at a high level. Whether that continues in 2019 remains to be seen.
The more Viktor Claesson scores, the worse it is for Christian Cueva.
Claesson starts on the left wing in a 4-3-3 for Krasnodar, which is also the only role Cueva can fill in that system. But the Swede has been sublime over the past four games, so it would be ludicrous to bench him.
To Cueva’s credit, he came on for 17 minutes in Krasnodar’s 3-0 win and completed all 18 of his passes. This low cross below should’ve been a goal, but Ari da Silva completely flubbed his first touch.
For now, Cueva will have to remain patient and impress in training if he wants to displace Claesson. Either that, or he has to hope there’s a tactical tweak in the future.
Paolo Hurtado was coming off a fantastic mid-week performance. He had a goal and two assists in the Turkish Cup on Wednesday, then carried that form into the weekend.
Hurtado had another assist but Konyaspor came up short, losing 3-2 to Göztepe.
The Peruvian played the entire second half and was pinging balls all over the pitch. It was majestic to watch.
Hurtado has been exceptional all month long, so he’s surely won himself a place in Konyaspor’s starting 11. This is also good news entering Peru’s friendlies, because he deserves an extended look at this point.
Edison Flores’s minutes doubled from last week, as he played the entirety of the second for Monarcas Morelia in their 3-1 defeat to Lobos BUAP.
Flores didn’t actually have a defined role in this game and played a lot in the midfield. There were some petty promising sequences from the Peruvian, specifically these two below.
With Benavente playing on the left for Charleroi these days, it’s possible Flores could be moved into the midfield, like we saw during a few of the World Cup qualifiers. Stay tuned.
Ray Sandoval was one of the four omissions from the latest Peru squad. The 23-year-old made the September roster, only to be dropped this month.
Based on Sunday’s match, that might’ve been right choice. Sandoval has been noticeably quiet over the past few weeks and this game was no different. He struggled to have an impact on the proceedings, which ultimately led to Monarcas struggling in the final third.
Sandoval had been playing well before the September call-up, so he can very easily rekindle his form. However, it’s notable that he’s started to decline since Edison Flores arrived.
Another name who was tipped to make the Peru squad was Irven Ávila. He ultimately missed out, but that didn’t deject him entering the match against his former side.
Ávila set up a couple of promising scoring chances, but Lobos were ultimately more clinical. Regardless, it was a decent showing for the Peruvian striker on Sunday afternoon.
Miguel Araujo was having another fine game for Talleres, until he had to exit the match with a knee injury.
There has been no announcement on the injury as of yet, but it didn’t look good for Araujo. This might rule him out for the October friendlies depending on the severity of the knock.
With English and Spanish scouts in attendance, Luis Abram delivered another partidazo for Vélez Sarsfield in their 2-0 win against Aldosivi on Monday evening.
Aldosivi focused most of their attacks down Vélez’s left flank, but Abram was alert to the danger almost every time.
Abram was also willing to dribble forward and distribute from the back. In fact, no one on either team completed more passes (52) than the Peruvian. Many of his long balls actually kickstarted attacks for Vélez.
It wasn’t a completely dominant performance like we’ve seen from Abram in the past, but it was good enough, especially with scouts watching him closely.