gold_cup_2011By Evan Ream

 

Ever since the Gold Cup ended, I have been waiting for CONCACAF or FIFA or whoever to release a Best XI; for whatever reason I love them. Unfortunately, none has come and none seem to be forthcoming so I have decided to make my own in a standard 4-4-2 formation. Here are my picks:

Goalkeeper – Jaime Pinedo, Panama

Pinedo was instrumental in Panama’s advancement to the semifinal that included a huge upset against USA. Pinedo allowed 5 goals in 4 games, but none were his fault. He stopped a penalty in their quarterfinal vs. El Salvador in regular time and stopped another one in the penalty shootout.

Left Back – Carlos Salcido, Mexico

Salcido was his usual solid self. From his left back position, he made many runs up the side and gave defenses problems while helping Mexico concede just 4 goals throughout the whole tournament.

Center Back – Rafael Marquez, Mexico

Marquez is the Mexican backline leader. He had to go off in the final but up until then he played a flawless tournament, organizing the back line and providing great service out of the back.

Center Back – Felipe Baloy, Panama

Baloy is an absolute monster. He absolutely took Jozy Altidore (who is massive for a soccer player) out of the group game, he played vs. USA. Baloy won almost every single ball in the air and every single 50-50 ball. Not a single Panama goal could be blamed on him but rather his inferior teammates.

Right Back – Steve Cherundolo, USA

Dolo was probably the best attacking defender in this tournament, contributing on a few goals. The turning part of the final for USA was when he went out injured and his replacement proceeded to be beaten on 4 Mexico goals.

Left Midfield – Clint Dempsey, USA

Dempsey was clutch for USA this tournament. He scored three goals and was denied by the crossbar two more times. He also created USA’s second goal in the final. For a team pretty devoid of offense, Dempsey was a bright spot.

Center Midfield – Gerado Terrado, Mexico

The Mexican captain was influential in both his passing and leadership. Terrado’s holding play allowed Barrera and Guardado to have huge impacts attacking.

Center Midfield – Michael Bradley, USA

Bradley was probably USA’s best player in the tournament. He didn’t have a great final, but he linked the defense and attack for USA very well throughout the tournament and scored the opening goal in the final.

Right Midfield – Pablo Barrera, Mexico

Barrera absolutely destroyed every left back he went against in this tournament, though torching Jonny Bornstein in the final shouldn’t be seen as that amazing of a feat. Still, Barrera was omnipresent in the Mexican attack and provided two goals in the final.

Forward – Rodolfo Zelaya, El Salvador

Zelaya was often deployed as a lone striker, something tough for someone of his stature, but he managed to make the most of it and score 4 of El Salvador’s 8 goals. Zelaya was a thorn in the defense of every other side.

Forward – Javier Hernandez, MexicoJavier__HERNANDEZ

The player of the tournament in everyone’s eyes is Hernandez; he is the most obvious inclusion on this team. He scored seven goals this tournament and led Mexico to their sixth title. There isn’t much else to say that isn’t really obvious.

 

Honorable Mentions: Aldo De Nigris (Mexico), Luis Tejada (Panama), Andres Guardado (Mexico), Dane Ricahrds (Jamaica), Clarence Goodson (USA), Eric Lichaj (USA), Tim Howard (USA).

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Comments
  1. nate hoff says:

    No mention of dos Santos? that’s a mistake

    • ……..I really can’t believe I left him off. He should be in the honorable mention section instead of De Nigris. Thanks for calling me out on that, you’re completely correct.

      -Evan

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