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Analysing Liga MX’s most talented players: Edwin Cardona


Liga MX is full of superbly talented and intelligent footballers, particularly in the attacking positions, but unfortunately these players receive little coverage outside of North America. Therefore, Thomas Harrison has decided to highlight some of Liga MX’s genius’ in a series of articles, using screenshots. The first in this series looked at a player underrated by many in Mexico, Rubén Botta, whilst this article features a player that makes headlines week-in, week-out, Edwin Cardona.


Who is Edwin Cardona?

The Ex-Atlético Nacional youngster won the Colombian top flight three times, twice with Atlético Nacional and once with Independiente Santa Fe, whilst on loan, before moving to Mexican club Monterrey.

Edwin Cardona 2016

The attacking midfielder, who normally operates from the left hand side, has since gone on to become a huge star in Liga MX, scoring 23 times in 45 games for Los Rayados. Many of the goals have come from outside of the box, with Cardona stunning golazos on an incredibly regular basis.

His performances have attracted the attention of national team manager Jose Pekerman, and Cardona’s received twelve Colombia caps, scoring twice. Pekerman is a big fan of Cardona, recently comparing him to Colombia’s biggest name, James Rodríguez, saying “you cannot compare their games by the way he moves, but in the technical and conceptual aspects of football they are very similar”.

Surprisingly, there have been few rumours linking Cardona with a move to Europe so far. But his talent and performances, both for club and country, should result in the Colombian moving to Europe soon, perhaps next summer.


Highlights

Monterrey v Querétaro

Joining Monterrey in January 2015, Cardona didn’t have the best start to life in Mexico as despite showing plenty of glimpses of his talent, he was left on the bench for three of his first six Monterrey games. The Colombian had to produce something special to persuade manager Turco Mohammed to start him regularly, and he did just that in a game against Querétaro. The score was 1-1, and with just over a minute of normal time to play, Cardona was sent on from the bench.

He instantly picked up possession from a short-free kick.

He instantly picked up possession from a short-free kick.

Took on the Querétaro defender in front of him, moving into the centre of the pitch.

Took on the Querétaro defender in front of him, moving into the centre of the pitch.

Once he had a sight on goal, Cardona unleashed a powerful attempt towards the Querétaro net.

Once he had a sight on goal, Cardona unleashed a powerful attempt towards the Querétaro net.

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Struck to perfection, the shot finds Tiago Volpi’s top corner. A truly stunning goal, scored just over ten seconds after Cardona came off the bench. The golazo, which demonstrates the long shooting ability and confidence that the Colombian has, gave Monterrey all three points, and ensured Cardona would no longer be left on the bench.

Dorados de Sinaloa v Monterrey

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The second highlight comes from a game against relegation favourites Dorados. In the 42 minute, Monterrey were 1-0 up and Cardona had possession in a 3 on 3 situation.

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Edwin has movement from fellow Colombian Dorlan Pabón ahead of him, and Rogelio Funes Mori in space on the left. But Cardona is full of flair, and, noticing that Dorados keeper Luís Michel is off his line, he decides to attempt an audacious chip.

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The chip is struck to perfection, leaving Michel grasping at the air, and the ball in the back of the net. A quite outrageous golazo.

Monterrey v León

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This next highlight comes from one of Monterrey’s best performances in the Apertura (1st half of the season) as they beat León 4-0 at home. Cardona had already scored a beautiful free-kick, and just after half-time he’s about to receive the ball inside León’s half.

Noticing the pressure from defender Fernando Navarro, Cardona flicks the ball on to Rogelio Funes Mori.

Noticing the pressure from defender Fernando Navarro, Cardona flicks the ball on to Rogelio Funes Mori.

Cardona continues his run, and Funes Mori returns the ball back to the Colombian.

Cardona continues his run, and Funes Mori returns the ball back to the Colombian.

Cardona lets the ball run across his body, and shapes to hit a long-range effort in a similar way to the free-kick that he scored earlier this game.

Cardona lets the ball run across his body, and shapes to hit a long-range effort in a similar way to the free-kick that he scored earlier this game.

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The execution is brilliant, finding the top corner for the second time in the match. Scoring in that fashion when the ball isn’t moving is impressive enough, but doing it with a rolling ball is just incredible. This goal is also a great example of Cardona’s presence of mind and awareness, with flick on to Funes Mori played as he was coming under pressure and the decision to let the ball run across his body allowing him to attempt the long shot.

Monterrey v Toluca

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The final highlight is taken from Monterrey’s game against Toluca last March. Los Rayados were trailing by a goal to nil mid-way through the first half when Cardona got the ball, but was under pressure from Antonio Rios.

Showing great strength and balance, Cardona does really well to turn away from Rios.

Showing great strength and balance, Cardona does really well to turn away from Rios.

Springing away from Rios, Cardona encounters Toluca defender Jordan Silva in his way.

Springing away from Rios, Cardona encounters Toluca defender Jordan Silva in his way.

Edwin is able to dribble past Silva, leaving the defender on the floor.

Edwin is able to dribble past Silva, leaving the defender on the floor.

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Opening his body up, Cardona places the ball between Alfredo Talavera’s legs, making it 1-1. A composed finish, this goal really highlights the dribbling ability that the Colombian has, which makes him extremely difficult for defenders in Liga MX to deal with.


Written by Thomas Harrison

Thomas Harrison

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