Exit Honduras. Enner Valencia.
The Ecuador forward hit a brace in his team's 2-1 win over Los Catrachos Friday night in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup.
Three minutes after Carlo Costly opened the scoring for Honduras, Valencia responded in kind. The Pachuca forward lost his marker and finished a sitter from close range, per Bleacher Report UK:
In the 65th minute, Ecuador had a free kick to the left of goal. Walter Ayovi delivered in a perfect ball that found the head of Valencia for La Tri's second goal, per ESPN FC:
TSN's Jason deVos did a great job of breaking down how Honduras' marking was largely to blame for the goal:
Valencia (goalscorer) being marked by Garcia. You CANNOT defend a ball by wrestling attacker and turning your back. pic.twitter.com/q6OW61cnAC— Jason deVos (@jasondevos) June 20, 2014
While they offer little going forward, Honduras can be an extremely tough side to break down. In order to beat them, your strikers must make the most of their chances, and that's exactly what Valencia did on Friday night.
His night could've been even better, as he nearly finished with a hat trick.
In the 19th minute, Valencia was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but sent his shot wide:
Then, in the 90th minute, he had a goal disallowed, per Fox Soccer Trax:
90 + 2 Referee disallows apparent E Valencia goal for handling on A Valencia? Hard to see what was wrong with that— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 20, 2014
Valencia has been one of the breakout stars of the World Cup so far, and his performance against Honduras had social media buzzing.
The 25-year-old now has three goals for the tournament, which puts him in a five-way tie for the Golden Boot, per Squawka:
The three goals are also the most by any Ecuadorian player at one World Cup, per OptaJose:
3 - Enner Valencia has now scored more goals at a single World Cup than any other #ECU player. Insatiable.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 20, 2014
Valencia isn't some kind of Johnny-come-lately, either. He was on a tear coming into the World Cup and is continuing that form in Brazil, per WhoScrored.com:
Enner Valencia: Has now scored 11 goals in his last 9 appearances for club and country #ecu— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 20, 2014
Mark Ogden of The Telegraph wouldn't be surprised to see Valencia parlay his World Cup success into a European move:
Enner Valencia making a name for himself at this World Cup. And after his goal v England in Miami too. Won't be in Mexican league for long..— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) June 20, 2014
FoxSoccer.com's Kyle McCarthy thinks Pachuca is already counting the millions:
Enner Valencia is going to make Pachuca a bunch of money in the not-so-distant future. #ECU— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) June 20, 2014
Surreal Football's Callum Hamilton envisions a rosy future for Valencia, at least in color:
Enner Valencia living the dream of all Ecuadorian boys - greatly increasing his chances of getting linked to Sunderland.— Callum Hamilton (@Callum_TH) June 20, 2014
Coming into the World Cup, Ecuador were one of those teams you believed could spring a surprise or two. They have the advantage of playing in South America in addition to what is the easiest group of the tournament.
Hot strikers can prove invaluable, and right now, few are on a better run than Valencia. Ecuador can go far in this tournament riding the back of their in-form forward.
La Tri will certainly need him when they take on France on June 25.