The Torneo de Verano is off right now. The league is suspended until the 8th of April due to flooding that’s going on in most parts of the country. 8 games in so far, it would be a good time to keep the discussion going and have the best XI of the tournament so far.
GK: Mauricio Viana (Sporting Cristal) – Chilean
Mauricio Viana has signed for Sporting Cristal at the beginning of the season as a replacement for ex-Burnley keeper, Diego Penny. He has been a step up from Penny and has kept a lot of security in goal for Sporting Cristal.
- He has impressive reflexes and good handling.
- He’s good at jumping in for crosses. This includes set pieces and corners
- His rushing out is much superior to many of the other keepers in the league’s and his timing for it is good.
RB: Jhoel Herrera (Real Garcilaso) – Peruvian
Jhoel Herrera is Real Garcilaso’s veteran right back. There aren’t many stand out right backs in the league. Herrera is the fairest player to put in this position as he’s had a solid start to the year and has made more of an impact to the team position in the table than any other right back in the league.
- The 36 year old veteran has been solid defensively. With age, he’s not going to be the fastest player but he still has that crossing ability in him to be decent attacking wise.
- He has an impressive tackling ability and that has shown a lot in the first half of the season. He’s a better defensive player than offensive for the most part.
CB: Jorge Cazulo (Sporting Cristal) – Uruguayan
Jorge Cazulo has been a central midfielder for a long time. He was converted to a central defender as of last season. He struggled for the longest time but near the end of last season he began to put in superb performances and they have continued into this season. Jorge Cazulo is a ball playing defender. He likes to go forward and play the ball out of defence, which helps begin counter attacks.
- As mentioned, he is excellent at playing the ball out of defence.
- He is a danger from set pieces. It could be from a corner or a free kick. His heading ability helps him out as he’ll score from most open headers.
- While he is mostly an offensive central defender, this doesn’t take away from his defensive efforts. He is good at tracking back after going forward to perform his defensive duties.
CB: Minzum Quina (FBC Melgar) – Peruvian.
Minzum Quina has been solid at the back for FBC Melgar. Juan Reynoso (Melgar’s manager) likes to score a goal and then push the team back and Quina fits this system well as he is one of the best central defenders in the league. He hasn’t done anything wrong to disprove that yet.
- Minzum Quina is a lot more limited than Jorge Cazulo. He knows defending and that is that. He’s not a ball playing defender who likes to go forward and begin counters as well as playing it out. It would be fair to call him a “defender” and not a “player” as he is purely defensive in what he does.
LB: Nilson Loyola (FBC Melgar) – Peruvian
Nilson Loyola is a pure Melgar man. Coming from the youth, he’s been key to FBC Melgar in the past few seasons where they have experienced success (Champions in 2015, runner ups in 2016). While he battled it out with Jair Cespedes for this spot, Loyola is slightly better defensively and tracking back after having gone forward. He’s a player with a good tactical mind.
- Loyola is good with his overlapping ability. He has a very good ability to go forward and supporting the attacking line.
- While full backs are this level are mostly defensive or offensive, Nilson Loyola is more the latter but he’s more mixed than any other left back in the league.
- Nilson Loyola is a quick left back and can outpace many other players in the league. His dribbling compliments his speed and he knows how to use it to his advantage.
CM: Luis Aguiar (Alianza Lima) – Uruguayan
Luis Aguiar was Alianza’s biggest name signing in the summer. So far, the top scorer of the league with 6 goals. He’s an offensive midfielder who gets forward at any given opportunity and knows how to score goals as his goal tally would suggest. Luis Aguiar is a former Libertadores finalist in 2011 with Peñarol. So far he has not disappointed for Alianza Lima and deserves his spot in this 11.
- As mentioned, he’s the top scorer of the league as a midfielder. He has a talent for roaming into the right position and scoring. In other words, he’s a very tactical player with good off the ball movement.
- He helps drive the team forward and create attacks.
- He’s an intelligent player who will find an open chance to take a shot or will look for an open player to dish out a pass and get the assist.
CM: Pedro Aquino (Sporting Cristal) – Peruvian
Pedro Aquino is one of Peru’s rising stars. At 21 years of age, he’s already gathered a few caps for the national team and has impressed in those few appearances. The case isn’t different in the league. Aquino was a rock in the middle of the park and has been influential in Sporting Cristal’s 4 clean sheets in the league.
- While he’s good at marking, closing down and sticking in position, his most impressive ability is his tackling. It would be fair to say he has a gift for it. He has a very good ability to win it back and create an attack from them instead of just making a short pass and slowing down play like some holding midfielders. He’s mostly defensive, but he’s not limited.
RW: Jose Manzaneda (Academia Cantolao) – Peruvian
Academia Cantolao have recently been promoted from the Segunda Division and haven’t done anything too impressive as compared to the other promoted team, Sport Rosario. However, Jose Manzaneda has been very impressive for them. With 3 goals so far to his tally, he has also created several attacks for Cantolao and has covered an impressive distance in a few matches.
- Jose Manzaneda’s biggest strength which has been proven is his technical ability. He is able to control the ball well and knows how to use his feet to get the result wanted.
- As mentioned, Manzaneda is a runner. He covers a good distance from judgement. He doesn’t give up when chasing the ball and tries to pressure the backline or the goalkeeper.
CAM: Pablo Lavandeira (Sport Rosario) – Uruguayan
Pablo Lavandeira had a great season with Deportivo Municipal last season. He was linked to the big Lima clubs but shocked the nation and ended up signing for newly promoted Copa Peru team, Sport Rosario. He has been the heart of the team. Being the team’s leading goalscorer with 3 goals in the competition, he has been one of the players with the most contributions. His contributions has helped his team sit in first with 17 points.
- His build up play and scoring ability have been very important to Sport Rosario’s early success.
- He is able to pretty much score a goal in any manner. He has already done it from the feet and from headers this season.
LW: Omar Fernandez (FBC Melgar) – Colombian
Omar Fernandez has arguably been the best player in these first 8 games. The left winger has been a constant thread on the left flank with his great dribbling and ability to cut in. The Colombian has 2 goals in the competition so far but has played a very key role in Melgar’s campaign who so far has 16 points. 1 behind first place Sport Rosario.
- Omar Fernandez’ key trait is his dribbling. He is great at getting past his man and either going in for a cross or cutting in and taking a shot.
- His final cross is good. It is not perfect, but not many players in this league have a perfect final cross. It is good enough for this level.
- He knows how to hold onto the ball and can hold it up for other players to run in and join the attack.
ST: Emanuel Herrera (FBC Melgar) – Argentinian
Emanuel Herrera is a new signing at FBC Melgar and was brought in from Emelec to replace Bernardo Cuesta, who was Melgar’s main man up front prior to this season. Emanuel Herrera has had a fantastic start in Arequipa as he’s gathered 3 goals so far and has been important in Juan Reynoso’s tactical system. He helps hold up the ball and bringing the other players in play.
- He’s a strong player and has shown his experience abroad.
- As mentioned, his hold up play is excellent. He is more of a supporting forward. He does well at dishing out an important pass in the final third and is intelligent to his decisions.
- While he is much more of a supporting forward, he also has the ability to score goals, as he has done on 3 occasions so far this season.