21 Midfielder Independiente del Valle Ecuador
Free running, free scoring Ecuadorian ‘once in a generation’ pocket rocket, long touted for the top. A veteran of some 100+ appearances for Independiente Del Valle before turning 21, the predominantly right footed attacking midfielder had entered into folklore at the Sangolquí club, scoring more than forty goals and helping to lay on a similar amount for colleagues.
A scorer on his international debut in a friendly against Bolivia, Sixto Vizuete gave the youngster his international breakthrough in the months that followed the 2014 World Cup and Sornoza did not look out of place. Links to a host of clubs in Europe and South America continued to resonate and by the time we published the #IBWM100 last December, Sornoza was very much one of the most admired young players in world football. However, his year ended badly with a three match suspension - a bi-product of the pressure to retain top spot as the Segunda Etapa drew to a close.
2015 has been…
Disengaged. As Los Negriazules’ title tilt evaporated in the closing weeks of the season, Sornoza’s exit hastened. At this point the ‘when not if’ became more about where? Links to Championship clubs in England were widely reported but Sornoza was always more likely to make a step up in standard in the Americas.
Wanting to assess how the Ecuadorian would fare in a much stronger league, Pachuca, such a leading light in the development of talented young players, negotiated a twelve month loan that would see Sornoza join in time for the new season. However, at the point of his arrival into the match day squad, Diego Alonso’s Los Tuzos were struggling for rhythm and found themselves at the foot of the Liga MX Clausara table after the opening two rounds.
Vying with several players for a starting role in Alonso’s favoured five man midfield, Sornoza was able to make six successive starts as Pachuca levelled out, but the new arrival never quite looked up to speed and was frequently substituted mid-way through the second half of matches. With his chance offered and subsequently blown, Sornoza could only look on as compatriot Cristian Penilla and local boy Diego de Buen moved ahead of him on the first team roster.
Returning to the starting line-up against Santos Laguna in early May, Sornoza scored his first goal in Mexican football but was seriously blowing by half time as his team went down 3-2. By June, Pachuca set up a move to subsidiary Mineros de Zacatecas to give Sornoza a chance to develop, but the move was of no interest and both parties agreed on a return to Independiente in July.
The good news is, after a slow start, Sornoza is thriving again in Ecuador as he helps Independiente push LDU Quito and Universidad Católica in the race for the title. Off the grid at international level but Ecuador are flying right now, so his services aren’t essential just yet. Nevertheless, 2018 is a long way off and, considering his competition, it’s highly likely Sornoza will be key by the time Russia comes into view.
Junior Sornoza’s form had dipped just prior to moving last January and he struggled to make the step up to a higher level but the story is unlikely to end there. Technique and ability are all in place and while he remains occasionally rash, Sornoza may well move on up again quite soon. Hopefully, the next destination is a more gradual ascent but we expect it to be something that the boy from Portoviejo can handle.
C- Time to reassess options, work on fitness
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