Joel Ordóñez at Club Brugge Nxt 2022/23: The next talent from the Independiente del Valle pipeline – scout report
When it comes to Ecuadorian football, Independiente del Valle are one of the best teams in the country, with the Ecuadorian Serie A side also being known for their famed youth development. Just a few of the names that have come through their academy include Jefferson Montero, Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie. Caicedo in particular has had a remarkable rise, with the young Ecuadorian being linked with moves to both Arsenal and Chelsea recently.
It is possible that 18-year old Joel Ordóñez could be the next big thing to come out of their youth system. Now with Club Brugge playing with their second team in the Challenger Pro League, the centre-back has already been promoted to the first team, but is yet to make a senior appearance. He also is beginning to rise through the Ecuador national team ranks, with the defender recently called up to the Ecuador U20 national team for the South American Youth National Championships, but unfortunately, Club Brugge did not release him.
This tactical analysis and scout report will take a look at Ordöñez in a more in-depth level, and look at whether he could make the jump to the Club Brugge senior team next season, much like Abakar Sylla has done recently.
The heat map above shows where Ordóñez tends to find himself on the pitch during a given match. With Club Brugge Nxt normally operating with a four-back system, the Ecuadorian typically plays as the right-sided central defender. However, he is given the freedom to move forward up the pitch, with him being involved in some phases of play in the attacking half of the pitch.
Ordóñez is very impactful when it comes to his distribution, with the 18-year-old being the main ball progressor in the defensive half of the pitch for Club Brugge Nxt. The 6’1” centre-back is also relatively dominant in the air, with him winning well over half of the aerial challenges that he attempts. He also is good in defensive duels, once again winning well over half attempted. As this scout report progresses, a few of these strengths will be looked at in greater detail, highlighting why it may not be long before he makes the jump up to the Club Brugge senior team.
Range of passing and distribution from the back
This first section will take a look at Joel Ordóñez’s range of passing, as well as his distribution from the back. As was mentioned in the previous section, the 18-year-old Ecuadorian has been the player that Club Brugge Nxt have looked to build through, and the data viz graphic below is able to illustrate this in more detail.
As the graphic above shows, Ordóñez is the key distributor for the second division side out of the back, but not all of his passes are side-to-side or occur in only the defensive third of the pitch. Through this season in both the Challenger Pro League and the UEFA Youth League, Ordóñez is averaging 46.14 passes per 90 minutes, with an accuracy of 88.5%. The young Ecuadorian defender also plays an average of 4.3 long passes per 90 minutes, with an accuracy of 56.5%. Finally, he plays 16.35 forward passes per 90 minutes, with a passing accuracy of 76.3%.
The image above shows an example of Ordóñez’s ability on the ball, as well as awareness and vision when it comes to situations like the one shown above. In the phase of play pictured above, Club Brugge Nxt are building out from the back, with the Ecuadorian defender being the one on the ball. After receiving possession from the goalkeeper, Ordóñez drives forward towards midfield, attempting to provoke the defenders into stepping up to try and engage him.
After getting to the position he is currently pictured in, the 18-year-old puts his foot on the ball, essentially telling the opposition forward players to come and press him. This is exactly what happens, and with them starting to close him down, this opens up the passing lane for the ball to be switched. The defender quickly spots this, and he is able to change the point and play the ball into space for the opposite central defender to drive onto and continue the Club Brugge Nxt attack going forward.
The image above shows another example of Ordóñez reading the defender to help determine where he plays the pass. In the phase of play above, once again, the Ecuadorian is in possession and driving towards midfield. He is able to spot the run of the fullback down the touchline, and plays the pass towards him, noticing that the defender circled in red is rooted in the space that he is currently occupying.
Though this again was a relatively simple pass for the central defender to complete, it shows his ability to read the game and know where the best place to play the pass would be. It also shows that Ordóñez is not afraid to take risks, especially when close to half of the passes he attempts per 90 minutes are either long passes or forward passes into the dangerous areas of the pitch. This demonstrates the confidence that the 18-year-old displays as well, showing he will not settle for just playing simple sideways and backwards passes at all times.
Quality in defensive duels
This next section will take a look at the quality that Joel Ordóñez possesses in defensive duels, with the 18-year-old Ecuadorian centre-back excelling in this area of the game as well. Throughout this season with Club Brugge Nxt so far, the central defender is averaging 6.49 defensive duels per 90 minutes, with a success rate of 67.6%.
The data viz graphic above shows the defensive territory that Joel Ordóñez covers, with it displaying all of his defensive actions, interceptions, and fouls in all competitions so far this season. As we can see by the graphic, his average line of defending occurs just outside the penalty box, with the Ecuador youth international looking to defend on the front foot for the majority of times. He is also heavily involved in clearing the ball from danger inside the penalty box, with Ordóñez making a large number of his interceptions inside the 18-yard box.
The image above shows a good example of the type of centre-back that Joel Ordóñez is, as well as how much potential he has once he makes it to senior football. In this match against Jong Genk, Ordóñez followed the attacker out wide, making sure to stay tight to him, but not tight enough for him to get turned in behind. The Ecuadorian was able to man mark the forward in this defensive phase, as the six was able to drop in to cover the space he left vacant. Ordóñez did a good job of recognising this movement from the defensive midfielder, as it freed him up to join the fullback in defending out wide, which at the same time, prevented Jong Genk from having an overload out wide that they could have used to their advantage.
As this phase of play proceeds, the ball is eventually played to the forward as there are no other clear passing options. Once the ball is played, Ordóñez backs off the forward slightly so as not to be too tight where he can be turned. After the ball reaches the forward, the Ecuador youth international central defender engages the Jong Genk forward, sticking a foot in and winning possession back for Club Brugge Nxt. The accuracy in Ordóñez’s tackles is also displayed in this example, as he was able to cleanly win the ball from behind the forward without making contact through the back of the attacker.
The image above shows another good example of Joel Ordóñez recognising the off-the-ball movements from Jong Genk looking to free up passing options between the lines. In this phase of play above, the advanced Genk winger looks to make a run from a deeper lying position, attracting the attention of the defensive midfielder and dragging him out of position. This ensuing movement opens up the space for the striker to drop into midfield and look to receive the ball.
However, because of the movement of the defensive midfielder, it frees up Ordóñez to track the runner into midfield, which allows him to stay tight enough to him. The Jong Genk player in possession still attempts to play the ball into this space between the lines, anticipating that the forward will be able to hold the Ecuadorian off. However, Ordóñez is able to use his strength to stay with the forward and goes into a challenge from behind when the ball reaches the forward. As a result, he is able to win back possession, but crucially, not catch the man as well, making it a clean challenge and change of possession caused by Joel Ordóñez. This example is once again also able to show the awareness that the 18-year-old possesses as well, with him constantly scanning his surroundings and knowing when to step and when not to engage a potential threat.
The image above again shows another example of Ordóñez stepping up with the attacker to engage, allowing him to be right on top of the attacker when he receives the ball. In the phase of play above, the attacker looks to drop into the space between the lines, looking to receive the ball from the winger who has cut inside in possession. With no imminent dangers around him, Ordóñez decides to step up with the forward and follow him into the midfield area. This allows him the ability to engage in a defensive duel when the ball reaches the attacker. The ensuing challenge from the Ecuador youth international is again a good one, winning possession without fouling the man.
As this section has illustrated, Joel Ordóñez is a very aggressive front-footed centre-back when it comes to the defensive side of his game. However, he is also not rash in his decision-making, with the young Ecuadorian defender smart when it comes to the challenges he attempts. This is an interesting combination that is sure to continue developing as he gets older and more experienced once he makes the jump to senior football.
As this tactical analysis has shown, it is possible that Joel Ordóñez is the next talented Ecuadorian defender to come out of the famed Independiente del Valle youth academy. The last most notable one was Piero Hincapie, with the Bayer Leverkusen defender being previously linked with Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window.
It is likely that Ordóñez will break into the Club Brugge first team soon, and then it will be interesting to watch his continued development from there as he begins to adapt to the tactics of Scott Parker or whichever manager he plays under.