Venezuelans Abroad (of the Week) – October 28th to November 3rd

Hello and welcome to a new series I’ll be running on my website. This blog will look to highlight my top three or four performers amongst Venezuelans playing (football) outside of Venezuela, with a particular focus on those within la Vinotinto’s roster.

Players listed are just a reflection from what I saw and noticed that week and there will surely be times where I brutally miss good options. Players are not listed in a particularly order of importance, though my actual writing may project which I feel had the best weekend.

If you enjoy the series, keep an eye for it every week, likely on Mondays or Tuesdays once the most recent round of matches is over.

Jhonder Cadiz: Dijon 2-1 PSG

Cadiz’ loan to a Dijon side that has struggled to get out of the relegation zone in Ligue 1 this season was met with mixed reactions when it took place late this summer. The prospect of playing in Ligue 1 is far from beneath Cadiz’ progressing career, but many had hoped the Venezuelan would play for Benfica, who bought him at the beginning of that same off season.

He’s picked up minutes slowly at Dijon, getting his first start in a 2-0 loss to Bordeaux in Coupe de la Ligue, but his first league start would be his best minutes for the club yet. Set loose against French titans PSG, Cadiz’ 47th minute goal would prove the key to Dijon earning their first ever league victory against PSG.

It’s still very unclear what club or country Cadiz’ future will send him to, but topping his first big start with a big goal to left some of the tensions at Dijon will surely be a diamond for his resume.

Yordan Osorio: Zenit 4-0 Tomsk

Osorio notched 90 more minutes and his second Russian Cup victory for Zenit midweek as they beat 2nd tier Tomsk 4-0 in the Round of 16. Zenit, who are favorites to win both of Russia’s domestic trophies at their current pace, have found uses for Osorio despite depth in defensive positions.

The Venezuelan, on loan from FC Porto, has managed a Champions League start (1-1 against Lyon), along with two positive CL substitute appearances and one league appearance in a 3-1 win over Ural. His performance against Tomsk was highlighted by his 100% passing accuracy, with all 77 of his paces meeting their mark.

Osorio will have to fight hard to get a consistent spot in a squad full of the Russian Premier League’s best, but he’s still managed to leave a mark on the squad with months of time left to do more. If all stays the same, the Venezuelan will likely leave Russia with a winners medal of some sort, whether he stays with Zenit long term or wins his way into the Porto 18.

Ronald Hernandez: Stabæk 2-0 Ranheim

Ronald Hernandez played the full 90 minutes in another strong result for Stabæk in Norway, who now rest in 10th place with 33 points in 27 games. It was the club’s 9th clean sheet of the season, earned despite Ranheim holding 50% of the possession and taking nine shots. Hernandez had a 76% pass accuracy rate on the day, out of 42 passes.

Having barely avoided relegation the previous season, Stabæk have started to grow this season and instead look set to be a mid table club. This will be a huge upgrade for Hernandez, who would surely look for a new club if the Norwegians were to be relegated. Having joined from Zamora in 2017, Hernandez is quietly becoming a strong defensive option for Venezuela, for whom he’s recently been a preferred fullback.

Yeferson Soteldo: Santos 1-0 Bahia, Santos 4-1 Botafogo

Soteldo played close to 180 minutes over Santos’ two wins in the Brazilian top division this week, beating both Bahia and Botafogo to help keep Pelé’s club in third place with a spot in the Copa Libertadores firmly in their grasp. Soteldo managed a brace against Botafogo, scoring in the 68th and 69th minutes.

The first goal against Botafogo came via a series of combination plays by the Santos front line. Soteldo proved the last piece and struck the ball well from near the penalty spot. The second goal was a classic one for the Venezuela, who cut in to the right and curved a beautiful shot into the far corner of the goal from the edge of the box.

Despite not scoring or assisting particularly often, the forward has been a shining player for Santos all season. He has six goals and two assists, but most importantly has won a spot as an instant starter for the club for his work outside of the goal scoring stats.

Soteldo’s future is the topic of heavy speculation within and outside of the Venezuelan footballing world, with many assuming a trip to Europe is in the cards, but the player has made the most of his stay in South America. While his time in Chile brought ups and downs, the player often noted for his short size has become a giant prospect and a must have for la Vinotinto’s match day squad.

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