FC Dallas have recently been rumored with one of the best young attackers in Argentinian soccer, Alan Velasco from Independiente.
Velasco is just 19-years old and has played solely for Independiente throughout his entire professional career. He started out with Independiente’s second team and in August of 2019, made his professional debut for the first team. Over his short career, Velasco has primarily played as a left winger but he has also featured as an attacking midfielder, right winger, and center-forward.
He has also played at the Argentinian under-17 level and played a role in the team that went on to win the U-17 South American championship. With that said, in this article, I will dive into Velasco’s statistics and determine his strengths and areas to improve on with his potential transfer to FC Dallas looming.
Over his career, Velasco has been pretty poor at shooting, which was exemplified in his most recent season in the Argentine Liga Profesional where he ranked 30th among wingers in Shots per 90 and 79th in Shots on Target % (this set was gathered from 93 wingers in the league, so Velasco was pretty poor with getting his shots on target this season)
Velasco has also only scored 1 goal in 2633 minutes of playing on the wing, which is well below-average.
However, there is definitely some reason for optimism as:
- In the shortened 20-21 Argentine Liga Profesional season, Velasco ranked 2nd among wingers in the league in Shots per 90 and 10th in Shots on Target % with a ridiculous 54.6% of his shots on target (this set was gathered from only 59 wingers, which makes Velasco’s statistics still very impressive)
- Velasco also scored 5 goals in 647 minutes, which tied him for the highest goal-scoring winger in the Liga Profesional that season
One trait that has been consistent throughout Velasco’s career has been his extreme willingness to take on defenders:
- Velasco ranked 1st in Dribbles per 90 during the 2021 season and 1st in Offensive Duals per 90 (both among wingers)
- In addition, Velasco ranked 2nd among wingers in Dribbles per 90 during the 20-21 season and 1st in Offensive Duals per 90,
- This consistency on a year-year basis has cemented Velasco as one of the best, if not the best, dribblers in the league
- Because of his high volume of dribbles, Velasco is also great at progressing the ball through his dribbling, ranking 9th in 2021 and 2nd in 20-21 among wingers in progressive runs
While he certainly has the willingness to take on defenders through his dribbling, Velasco is below-average at executing his dribbles:
- Velasco ranked 58th in Dribble % during the 2021 season with a completion rate of 49.4% and 49th in the 20-21 season with a rate of 41.5%
Dribbling with accuracy is definitely something that Velasco will need to work on, but I expect his percentages to increase as he gets older and adjusts more to professional soccer.
Velasco does not attempt many crosses as he ranked 73rd and 46th in crosses per 90 in his most recent seasons. However, when attempting crosses, he produces quality output, as he ranked 31st and 9th in accurate cross percentage his last two seasons. His percentages of 33.3% (in 2021) and 50% (in 20-21) along with his career percentage of 37.3% are above-average for wingers.
So, if Velasco goes to FC Dallas, I would like to see him turn a lot of his dribbles into high-quality chances from his crossing.
Final Third Passing
Similar to Velasco’s crossing, he also doesn’t attempt many passes to the final third, which isn’t the most important statistic for wingers because they are already in the final third most of the time but still serve as an important role in progressing each attack.
- Velasco ranked 38th (2021) and 32nd (20-21) in his passes to the final third among wingers
- But also similar to his crossing, Velasco contains the quality for passing into the final third as he ranked 20th and 11th in accurate passes to the final third and averaged great percentages in his two most recent seasons; 75.6% and 79% respectively
Because of this, I would like to see Velasco involved more in the buildup of attacks, as his combination of lethal dribbling and accurate passing could help progress attacks for FC Dallas.
Penalty Area Passing
Velasco also doesn’t attempt many passes into the penalty area, which correlates with his low amount of crosses each game.
- He ranked 57th and 42nd among wingers in passes into the penalty area per 90 in his last two seasons
- Velasco’s accurate passes to the penalty area are much more volatile than his final-third passes and crosses
- In 2021, Velasco completed 43% of his passes to the penalty area which ranked him 57th, whereas in the 20-21 season he completed 56% of these same passes, ranking him 10th
If Velasco joins FC Dallas, it will be good to see him establish some more consistency with that last crucial pass to the penalty area.
Like his dribbling, Velasco’s defending/pressing has been consistently above average throughout his young career:
- During the 2021 season, Velasco ranked just 41st among wingers in defensive duels per 90, however in the 20-21 season, Velasco ranked 9th. Additionally, compared with wingers around the world, Velasco is firmly above-average in this category.
- Velasco is also pretty good at intercepting the ball, as he averaged ~2.1 Interceptions per 90 during the 2021 season and ~2.9 in the 20-21 season, which both are above-average for wingers
- While Velasco attempts a good amount of defensive duals, he also successfully wins these duals at a high rate
- Over his career, Velasco has a defensive dual win rate of ~61%, which is practically unheard of for a winger.
So if Velasco joins FC Dallas, I would expect him to come in and make an immediate impact on the defensive side of things.
Overall, I think Velesco would be a great player to sign for FC Dallas. While there are some glaring weaknesses such as his shooting and his dribble completion percentage, he is only 19 years old and will certainly have time to improve. Velasco has also shown signs that he can overcome these weaknesses, especially during his impressive 20-21 season. He also contains a variety of strengths such as his dribbling and defending. Velasco was no doubt the most active dribbler in the last two seasons in the Argentine Liga Profesional, a league filled with an impressive list of players.
In addition to his dribbling ability, Velasco can also make an impact right away through his defending and pressing, which can be seen through his defensive duels and interceptions. Something that I would like to see more out of Velasco is more of an emphasis on passing because he has the quality, he just needs to take on more attempts. Specifically, I think with more crosses and passes to the penalty area, Velasco will take that next step and become potentially one of the most lethal wingers in MLS. Additionally, with Velasco’s age, I think he also could provide immense resale value for FC Dallas in the future.