Scouting Report: Aaron Boupendza

FC Cincinnati’s Brenner replacement arrived in the Queen City and very well might make his debut against Nashville SC on Saturday. Aaron Boupendza joins the Orange and Blue to help get the team over the line in their trophy chase on multiple fronts. To learn more about the signing, check out Nate Gilman’s article here.

The Player

Aaron Salem Boupendza Pozzi is a 26 year old forward and Gabon International. At 5’11” and 176 pounds he fits the mold of a target striker, though he won’t likely be bigger than many of the center backs that he faces. He arrives in Cincinnati after stints with Al Shabab, Al Arabi, and Hatayspor among other clubs.

The Game Film

Aaron Boupendza is a goal scorer… full stop. He thrives in and around the box, finding ways to finish where many other forwards would fail. With that goal scoring record comes some positives and negatives. Let’s start with the positives:

Boupendza is very good when receiving the ball with his back to goal. He can hold up the ball under pressure, and if a defender gets too tight he has a great ability to roll him and get beyond them. He also has good acceleration though he’s not a straight-line speed merchant. Finally, he has a wonderful left foot. He can take set pieces, score from distance, or lace a volley from the top of the box into the top corner of the net without breaking a sweat. He’s not a 1v1 artist, but his shooting ability and acceleration allow him to create the space to get shots off when he faces up defenders.

However, perhaps down to his fantastic left foot, his right foot is noticeably underdeveloped. He struggles to use it to any good effect. Álvaro Barreal’s right foot looks like Messi’s compared to Boupendza’s. Also, he is not a good passer. Once again, because he scores to such great effect it seems like he hasn’t really developed a nack for passing between the lines. He struggles to put the right weight on any passes when trying to connect with teammates out in front of him.

The Verdict

Boupendza thrives when holding the ball up and passing underneath, when running with the ball in space, or whenever he gets half a look at goal from anywhere in the box. I have very little doubt that he will score goals for FC Cincinnati. However, he will be a player that relies a lot on those around him for his success. He’s not the kind of player that can carry a team or create many of his own chances.

I’m cautiously optimistic on Boupendza, but I don’t think he’ll light the league on fire unless FCC can really provide more quality services from wide areas.

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