LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta is one of the exciting talents on the team. The Colombian player shone exceedingly in previous seasons and became one of the most important players in the team. But since his role on the field is defensive, not many fans notice him. So he isn’t as praised as his teammates.

In this tactical analysis in the form of scout report, we will look at the qualities of Atuesta, and the roles that made him one of the best midfielders in MLS.

Atuesta at the build-up phase

LAFC is a team that relies on direct attacks, as it tries to move the ball quickly to the final third, then tries to create a numerical advantage on the side and penetrate the opponent’s box.

Atuesta has a significant role in the success of this method, as it plays an important role in moving the ball to the final third during the build-up phase.

Atuesta is a player who has a good vision of the field and provides accurate passes. Moreover, his coach Bob Bradley made him use these characteristics, to help his team move the ball to the opponent’s half in a clean manner.

Atuesta plays 60.8 passes per match with a success rate of 87.2%, but the best part is that more than 30% of his passes are forward. The success rate for his forward passes is 78.5%. Frankly, this is an exceptional number for a 23-year-old player.

The main reason he achieved such huge numbers is his excellent vision. Atuesta examines the field thoroughly and determines the position of his team-mates precisely.

In this picture, even though he is faced the goal with his back, he noticed his teammate to move forward. So, Atuesta took advantage of the space in front of him to changed his body position and played a pass towards teammate Rossi.

This example also illustrates the player’s intelligence and good vision. Atuesta discovered an area between the lines and his teammate moved to it. But if it is passed directly to him, the opponent can intercept it. For this reason, he preferred a pass to Latif Blessing, to ensure that the ball reached Rossi between the line.

His excellent positioning also helped him achieve good passing numbers. Atuesta always tries to position himself in areas where he can provide useful and accurate passes to the team during the build-up phase.

In this picture, for example, his excellent positioning gives him many solutions, if the winger presses him, he will pass to Diego Palacios, if the pivot presses him, he will pass to Francisco Ginella, if he is not pressed, he will have enough time to play a pass towards Wright-Phillips.

Atuesta positioning and moves are beneficial to his team, even in the final third. In this picture, for example, Atuista notices that the Orlando City pivot is busy with Rossi. Atuesta took advantage of the situation and positioned behind his back.

On long passes, it is not bad either. It plays 4.95 passes, with a success rate of 58.6%. Longballs are also an important weapon that Atuesta relies on.

In this picture, Atuesta played a long ball behind the opponent’s backline. Thus Rodriguez can use his speed to reach the opponent’s goal.

Playing Under Pressure
Another feature that Atuesta has is his ability to play under pressure. In addition to his excellent vision and his ability to play accurate passes, Atuesta is a technically great player with excellent ball control.
These characteristics make Atuista able to play under pressure, making him influential in the build-up phase, and an important element in counterattacks.
Atuesta does 3.41 dribbles per match, and with a success rate of 57.2%, that is a good number for a player still in the development stage.
This is a map of Atuista’s dribbles, as you can see, most of his dribbles in the first and mid-thirds were successful and made his team maintain possession.
Map of the Atuesta Dribbles
Here thanks to his good control of the ball, he was able to dribble against three players, and bypass the opponent’s pressure.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
In this picture, even though Atuesta has the option of passing safely towards the back, he preferred to play a forward pass and eliminating four opponents’ players.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics These characteristics are not only used in the building phase, and they are important to the Los Angeles team in the final third, Where Bob Bradley relies on quick and direct attacks. Here the technical ability and intelligence in positioning are essential.
This picture summarizes what I mentioned above, Atuesta is positioned in the empty space, then he advances the ball forward, delusions the defender that he will continue in the same path, then quickly change his path in the empty space inside the box.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Defensive contributions
Atuesta is indeed a great player in the offensive stage, but we must not forget that he is a defensive midfielder, meaning that his defensive contributions are more important than anything else.
Eduard makes 8.33 defensive duels with a success rate of 53.2%. Indeed, it is not a great rate, but we can say that it is not bad, because his team attacks with a large number of players, and this leaves large spaces in the back, so the opponent always has an advantage over Atuesta.
Another defensive weakness is haste. For example, in this picture, although he is far from the ball holder, he advanced to pressure, so the opponent was able to easily dribbled him through space he left behind.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
However, the player compensates this with interceptions, Atuesta makes 4.03 interceptions per match. This is great, but the best thing is that half of these interceptions were in the opponent’s half.
This map shows that the player is excellent at applying counterpressure, as he recovered many balls in the final third. It also makes many interceptions.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
The reason he achieved these big numbers is because of his intelligence and his good vision on the field. For example, in this picture, he scanned the field well and knew that the ball holder had no passing option, thus closed the only passing channel that the opponent’s defender could pass to.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
As I said earlier, Los Angeles attacks with a large number of players, leaving spaces in the back. That is why Atuesta uses some techniques to break or block an opponent’s counter-attacks.
In this scenario, Atuista pressed the opponent’s strong foot. In this way, he prevented him from playing a pass to his teammate behind the backline, and he directed his opponent towards the side.
Eduard Atuesta 2020 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
As stated in the analysis, Atuesta is a good player, and an essential piece in Bob Bradley’s tactics, especially in the construction phase. Eduard is a young player, and he is now gaining more experience and is expected to improve in the coming seasons.
Who knows, we may see him in the future in one of the European leagues, the Ligue1 or Bundesliga, for example.