Édison Flores is a 25-year-old winger who recently signed for D.C. United and is a regular in the Peru national team lineup. The young forward can play anywhere in the front three behind the striker and is a constantly energetic figure in any team, making him easy to fit into many different styles of tactics. These attributes encouraged the D.C. United hierarchy to sign the Peruvian. He is the most expensive signing in D.C. United’s long MLS tenure, which dates back to 1995 when MLS was founded.
One of the main draws of Flores’s background comes from his extensive experience in the national team for Peru. Since making his debut at the tender age of 19, he has gone on to be capped 51 times, scoring 13 goals in the process. In competitive tournaments or qualification campaigns (not International friendlies), Flores has an impressive record. He has been a part of a successful qualification journey to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, scoring 5 goals in 14 matches. Despite not scoring in the World Cup, having players with that experience can add a different dynamic and professionalism to the dressing room. The winger’s most notable achievement was being a part of the Peru side that got to the final of the 2019 Copa América tournament, again showing his ability to be a part of a successful team.
Despite his lack of highlights at club level, recently arriving from Liga MX’s mid-table side Morelia, Flores has the attributes and character to be a part of a successful MLS side. Flores has power, pace, defensive capabilities, endless stamina and intelligence to make forward runs – perfect for D.C. United’s tactics. For the readers who know Antonio Valencia, former winger of Manchester United, Flores has a very similar style.
This scout report will examine how Flores will contribute to his new team with a tactical analysis of D.C. United’s system. His new club will be hoping there is more to come from this exciting young player.
One of Flores’s key attributes which makes him extremely valuable to any team is his ability to be a two-sided player. A two-sided player means that Flores is capable of affecting the game significantly in both the attack and defence. This attribute is most commonly associated with a “box-to-box” midfielder such as Paul Pogba in the EPL. Those types of players are highly sought after because, in the modern game, positions on the pitch are incredibly specialized. What is even more impressive is that Flores has this two-sided trait while being a winger. Wide attacking players are commonly thought of as gifted in the offensive part of the game, but Flores is a unique player.
Flores’s ability to drop back and help out defensively is effective, especially during the transition phases of the match. In the data below, Flores’ persistence while in the recovery phase of the match is fantastic. Particularly, in the central channel and the final third of the pitch, the Peruvian recovered the ball 93 times. These statistics are based on Flores’s last year of matches. His activity while in recovery shows how important he can be to D.C. United this upcoming season. They bought a player who is willing to commit and put in an energetic shift. Flores counterpresses and constantly puts himself in positions to make interceptions.
These statistics can be useful for D.C. United while implementing tactics for particular matches. Because of Flores’s work rate, he will add a defensive cover depending on where he is on the pitch. If a team has more of an attacking presence on one side of the pitch, Flores can be utilised as cover. He can play all three positions behind the striker quite comfortably and is very versatile. Currently, D.C. United employs him on the right-hand side, however later in the analysis will show why the left-wing is Flores’s best position.
An example of Flores’s work rate and recoveries can be shown in the analysis below. As the ball is played in from a corner kick, it seems to be falling in the keeper’s hand. While a player who is not as alert and energetic to retrieve the ball may miss the subsequent action, Flores does not. The youthful winger anticipates the ball going beyond. It rebounds off of a Uraguyan’s head and continues to bounce to the side channels. At the top of the box, Flores recognizes this and immediately sprints in that direction, hence winning the duel to the recovery of the ball. This example is just a highlight of the type of commitment Flores has to his team. The next action in this sequence will show what Flores’s other strengths are: dribbling and crossing.
Another key strength of Flores is his ability to beat players in one-on-one situations and while in tight areas. This works perfectly for many different tactical systems as Flores is comfortable in difficult situations. If he is isolated wide in a one-on-one opportunity, the Peruvian can still beat his opponent. Therefore, if Ben Olsen, D.C. United’s manager, favours a system that pushes the wingers extremely wide, Flores can be effective. Additionally, if he favours a tactical system that focuses on build-up through the middle of the pitch, Flores can be as equally as effective.
This claim holds true as we dive deeper into Flores’s dribbling statistics. While in possession of the ball, the winger retains possession 70.9% of the time after dribbling. This is an important figure because it demonstrates how consistent and reliable Flores is. Out of the dribbles he attempts, he gets a shot registered 26% of the time following the dribble. Out of those shots (24), he gets 45% of them on target (11). This is an incredible statistic, which leads to Flores having a 2.55 xG after dribbling with the ball. D.C. United and Olsen should continue to encourage Flores to take on players when he can.
An example where Flores successfully beats a player after dribbling is shown below. It is important to note that this analysis is a continuation of the section above in this scout report. After making the recovery run to win back possession for his team, Flores finds himself in a one-on-one opportunity. With a drop of the shoulder and quick feet, Flores beats his man to get into a crossing position. Within ten seconds, Flores has demonstrated two of his key attributes. He combined his energy and willingness to win the ball with his ability to beat players in isolating situations in order to have a positive impact on the match. These two actions led to a crossing position, yet another strength of Flores’s game.
Another area of Flores’s game where he finds success is in his crossing ability. Flores is constantly finding himself in promising positions to pick out players in the box. This analysis is important as D.C. United decide where to utilise Flores on a long-term basis. As mentioned earlier in the analysis, the left-wing is the position for a manager to get the best out of Flores. While playing for Peru, his primary position is on the left-wing. To no surprise, this is the team where Flores has been playing his best football. The reason for this, one may ask?
Flores’s left foot is a major strength of his, and it is the foot he prefers more than a majority of the time. When in a shooting position, Flores favoured his left foot 50 times out of 57 last calendar year. When given the choice, he will always use his left foot. This is not uncommon, especially for wingers who usually are more one-footed.
His left foot can be further highlighted while analyzing his crossing ability. Flores constantly finds himself in strong crossing positions on the left side of the pitch. He can whip in a ball labelled as an outswinger, which will be easier for a player to redirect while heading. His incredible crossing ability means he is finding players at a highly successful rate. Out of the 33 crosses Flores delivered, he was successful at finding a man 54.5% of the time, leading to 18 successful crosses. This leads to Flores having an xA of 1.10 when in crossing positions.
The example of Flores’s crossing ability is shown in the dribbling section of this scout report. Without showing another image of a similar situation, it is important to reflect on how his key attributes identified in this analysis all come together. As mentioned earlier, Flores wins the ball back and then beats a player in a one-on-one situation. He then intelligently drives down the line and gets a dangerous cross back into the danger area using his left foot. He leaves the ball in a great position for the attacker at the near post to try and score a goal. This highlights the claim that Flores can be a two-sided player.
Édison Flores is a player that is extremely valuable to a team looking for a dynamic winger. Despite his lack of goals and assists statistically, Flores has a lot of promise, which was outlined in this scout report and analysis. He is smart, quick and energetic while on the pitch. The level of commitment to his team makes him an attractive player for managers. He will not go to sleep defensively and is an effective two-sided player, an attribute which is uncommon in wingers. Flores has lots of abilities which will make him successful as he begins his first season in the MLS. Being 25 years old, the best years are only ahead of him.