2021 Apertura: Perez Zeledon 1-1 Jicaral

Perez Zeledon and Jicaral shared the points in the first Jornada of the 2021 Apertura season. Read below for the tactical setup each team deployed, player ratings and a full tactical breakdown of what transpired.

Season: 2021 Apertura

Jornada: 1

PEREZ ZELEDON 4-3-3

Perez Zeledon started the match in a rigid 4-3-3 system featuring one anchor in midfield and two attacking midfielders just ahead. Wingers stayed true to their sides. Fullbacks were encouraged to bomb forward, while the center backs set an aggressively high line at the center circle.

PLAYER RATINGS (Scale 1-5)

#Player NamePlayer Rating
14Alvarez★★★
3Mendez★★★ (3.5)
29Moura★★★★
5Ordain★★★ (3.5)
17Perez★★★
12Smith★★★★
9Leiva★★★ (3.5)
8Rodriguez★★★
7Solorzano★★★
88Matarrita★★★★
32Monge★★
19Castro★★★★
28CamposN/A

JICARAL 5-4-1

Jicaral started the match in a 5-4-1 that featured one target man at the top of the formation. A deep-lying playmaker played alongside a more creative attacking midfielder to provide service in transition. Wide midfielders with more defensive capabilities behind the ball and in transition were deployed in place of traditional attacking wingers.

PLAYER RATINGS (Scale 1-5)

#Player NamePlayer Rating
22Gomez★★★ (3.5)
2Velasquez★★★
21Flores★★★
14Gutierrez★★★ (3.5)
5Fajardo★★★★
6Fernandez★★★
4Prendas
10Esquivel★★★ (3.5)
12Martinez★★★
18Gutierrez★★★
11Clunie★★★
8Chevez★★★
25Marsh★★★ (3.5)
19Zamora★★★
7Gonzalez★★

HOW IT WENT DOWN

You would think a team with a man advantage for 70 minutes—and then a two-man advantage for the final 10 minutes—would have zero difficulties creating chances; however, Jason Prendas’ red card in the 11th minute worked against Perez Zeledon.

Jicaral—traditionally a team that relies on second-ball pickups—didn’t deviate from that tactic, but there was an added dimension to it. The sweeping center back, William Fernandez, pushed forward in midfield during the build-out. The ball teased around the back line before eventually being hoofed up the field. 

Perez Zeledon applied no pressure in these moments to start.

Instead, after winning back possession, Perez Zeledon played a more direct style of possession. Long diagonals or balls down the line allowed Perez Zeledon to penetrate the final third with relative ease. Jicaral’s decision to play a high block 40 yards from goal allowed for this, creating space for runs in behind. 

Then the red card happened. 

Watch this video to see how Jicaral’s red card happened and how it impacted the game

Fernandez’s positioning during the build-out was wider than intended. Prendes’ spacing with Fajardo left him isolated. Perez Zeledon finally applied pressure during this phase of Jicaral’s play and punished it. 

Jicaral was down to 10 men.

Jicaral’s adjustment was a 5-3-1 and a low block just outside the 18. Perez Zeledon lost its verticality and created very little for a team that had multiple numerical advantages. Patient possession that amounted to very little penetration was played for huge chunks of the game. It played right into Jicaral’s hand.

THE GOALS

There was one moment where Perez Zeledon displayed the verticality from the opening 10 minutes. A direct cross into the area for a 1v1 run in behind resulted in a corner. The subsequent play resulted in Perez Zeledon’s opener.

66’ Perez Zeledon 1-0 Jicaral

For his part, Minor Alvarez did make a couple of huge saves during the match. This one moment of weakness ultimately cost Perez Zeledon all three points.

83’ Perez Zeledon 1-1 Jicaral

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