Biding Time: The “Best Of” CONCACAF

Okay, that “Orange Slices” column is not going to hold us all day while we wait for our first USMNT action in nearly two months.

Commenter GeorgeCross, a UEFA native, gives his us this little fun piece to debate while we’re waiting.

Just for a little bit of fun, I thought it would be cool to name a ‘dream team’ from each of FIFA’s Confederations. (Our first in the “Best Of” series)

Obviously, the list of players is exhaustive, so there’s not one right answer.  My aim was to perhaps debate a little, and perhaps learn something – a TSG member might throw out a name that most of us ignored, forgot about or hadn’t even heard about.

Logic:  each player’s country has to be at The Finals and the player has to be part of said country’s provisional 30-man squad.  In addition, I have take the liberty to chose a   4-4-2 diamond  over a 4-3-3 formation.  And I have also picked the best players (IMO), rather than a team to beat a specific opponent. To begin, we’ll start with CONCACAF. A little tough as I have only a few squads to choose from.

GeorgeCross … I’ve taken the liberty of adding my on-the-fly suggestions to yours below.


GeorgeCross: Tim Howard, USA

TSG: Tim Howard, USA


GeorgeCross: Carlos Salcido, MEX – Oguchi Onyewu, USA, Rafael Marquez, MEX –  Ricardo Osorio, MEX

TSG: Carlos Salcido, MEX – Oguchi Onyewu, USA, Jay DeMerit, USA  –  Maynor Figueroa, HON

The Spurs strongman makes both lists...


GeorgeCross: Stu Holden, USA – Wilson Palacios (CDM), HON – Clint Dempsey (CAM), USA – Andres Guardado, MEX

TSG: Clint Dempsey, USA – Wilson Palacios, HON – Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo, MEX – Landon Donovan, USA


GeorgeCross: Carlos Vela, MEX – Landon Donovan, USA

TSG: David Suazo HON – Carlos Vela, MEX

Honorable Mention:

TSG: Rafael Marquez, MEX – Giovanni Dos Santos, MEX – Jonathan Dos Santos, MEX – Jozy Altidore, USA – Michael Bradley, USA – Stu Holden, USA

GeorgeCross: Pending


Have at it folks … just seven hours until the whistle.

49 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by 723FootballFilms on 2010/05/25 at 9:58 AM

    All anti-Mexico bias aside Carlos Vela is extremely overrated. Give me Suazo and Jozy over him.


  2. This group should be made up entirely of Americans and Hondurans (classy people to be sure)…Mexico sucks…that is all


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 10:03 AM

      Oh come now Connor… first Blanco is first-rate ….. c’mon…I’ve seen your comments before, you can be objective. :>


      • His skill set may be first rate, but he bitches and moans all over the pitch. As a Fire fan, when I lived in Chicago, I hated how he’d go off on tirades every two seconds.


        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/05/25 at 11:58 AM

          I’ll agree on Blanco. He’s very talented, but he dives more than all the Olympic diving teams combined.

          I remember once against Houston they just happened to have the camera zeroed in on him when I watched him kick (yes kick I mean just flat out, Boom!) a Houston player and when he fell over and complained he got the call. Just about the strangest thing I’ve ever seen happen, and yes I do realize how skeptical many people will be about this.


      • haha truth be told, i was simply amazed at how mexico played yesterday, and by amazed i mean they’re like a poor mans brazil, alot of flash and ooohs and ahhhs, but no substance, like lack of finishing, poor final balls, etc. I think alot of Mexico’s players are overrated, Gio and Vela and Guardado and Marquez are good players, but, minus the thrashing of our C team in the Gold Cup, i havent seen anything from them to suggest that they are better than say Donovan, Dempsey, Onyewu, DeMerit, and so on…Marquez frequently makes mental errors that earns him cards, Guardado has the pace, but was shut down by Heath Pearce when we played them in Columbus, Gio has pace, but lacks a clinical finishing touch, as does Vela (this coming from an Arsenal fan mind you) Salcido is as good a right back as there is in CONCACAF, but his stock is falling since his release from Stuttgart…here is my group

        GK: Howard
        DF: Salcido, DeMerit, Onyewu, Figueroa
        MD: Holden, Palacios, Bradley, Donovan
        FW: Dempsey, Suazo


        • I was thinking of the wrong person, Osorio was released from Stuttgart, not Salcido


        • Posted by Jeff on 2010/05/25 at 11:14 AM

          Hard to criticize Marquez for earning too many cards and then have Bradley on your list. As for your comparison of the US players to Mexican players, I’d bet that a Mexican fan would say the exact opposite. Where you stand depends on where you sit.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/05/25 at 11:54 AM

      So you’re telling me, should we be eliminated before Mexico, you still wouldn’t cheer for them for the good of CONCACAF? I would say more, but frankly I would never cheer for FC for the good of Texas.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 12:08 PM

        The 4 CONCACAF spots are fixed, right? They’re not dependant on performance.. You would never** see me cheering for Italy, France or Germany. Ever. I would rather lose my right testicle…

        **unless it was against Argentina!


        • Technically we only have 3.5 spots, which I thought was dependent on performance in the WC…I don’t have any facts to back that assumption up, just thought that was the way it was.


  3. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 10:08 AM

    I was umm-ing and ahh-ing over Maynor Figueroa too. And I almost put Kenwyn Jones in until I remembered T&T didn’t qualify! I also thought a lot about Michael Bradley, but with Wilson Palacios and Clint Dempsey, there was no way I could shoe horn him in and look at myself in the mirror. And of course the Dos Santos brothers were on my radar, especially Gio, but he didn’t make it.

    And re. Cuauhtémoc Blanco, perhaps I would have taken him a little more seriously if this was a pie eating contest!


    • Posted by itally on 2010/05/25 at 10:11 AM

      There was an article I read a year or two (wish I could find it), that said Blanco looked like a South Park character running around the pitch. Now, whenever I see him play, that’s all I can think about!


    • George, Blanco would never be in a pie eating contest, they don’t make pie in Mexico. They eat Churros.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 10:19 AM

        I wrote this a week or so ago, but when I saw Carragher (who is hardly quick) out run him last night, I knew my decision to leave him out was justified…

        Nick: I did think of writing something that would be more “authentic”, but didn’t want to be accused of stereotyping / cause offense to the Latin quarter. They have enough on their plate as it is!


        • Very true, I don’t have anything against Latinos. I’m equal opportunity when it comes to stereotype style put-downs as long as they don’t cross the line from amusing to hatred.


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/05/25 at 12:04 PM

        You know, as much as people like Churros and know they’re Mexican, I don’t think I’ve ever had a Churro while in Mexico. I love the tamales there because they don’t compare to what you’ll find here.


        • Real Mexican food made in Mexico has got to be one of my favorite cuisines on the planet. Simple and humble style yet complex flavors with just the right amount of heat.


        • Posted by Dylan on 2010/05/25 at 2:53 PM

          No doubt, people ask me all the time if I like Mexican food and I tell them yes. But if you want to go get Mexican here in the states I’m probably not interested. And it’s because I’ve eaten Mexican food from Mexico and there is no comparison. Absolutely my favorite cuisine in all my travels.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 3:01 PM

          Wait what?! Are you saying that Chipotle ain’t authentic???


  4. Posted by chris on 2010/05/25 at 10:34 AM

    DF: Salcido, Demerit, Onyewu, Figueroa
    MF: Dempsey, Palacios, Leon, Donovan
    FW: Suazo, Altidore

    Well that’s my list of the best. I would have put Costly over Altidore but he is injured and not going to the World Cup which is a shame because he’s a beast.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 10:40 AM

      I like Costly but I have Vela and Suazo over him.

      I think Vela is good…he’s just not given consistent minutes for club and country.


  5. Posted by brian on 2010/05/25 at 10:50 AM

    for my money Bryan Ruiz is the best striker in concacaf


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 11:22 AM

      True….and he is also the best striker not going to the World Cup from CONCACAF.


      • Posted by brian on 2010/05/25 at 11:37 AM

        oh boy, didn’t read the part that says “each player’s country has to be at The Finals”

        shoot me


  6. Posted by Jeff on 2010/05/25 at 11:12 AM

    No big Mexico fan here, but not nearly enough love for Giovanni Dos Santos here. I’m always impressed with his skill when I see him play.

    Salcido, Onyewu, Marquez, Figueroa
    Donovan, Dempsey, Palacios, Dos Santos
    Suazo, Vela

    I don’t like Marquez, and I actually think he’s overrated, but he makes this list. Hard to leave Ruiz off, but he’s not going to the Cup. We all love Jozy here, but a guy who scored 1 goal in 25 Premiership appearances doesn’t deserve a spot on this list yet. When he hits his potential, then we can put him on. Same for Stu and Bradley.

    Love the Blanco as a South Park character revelation.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 11:25 AM

      Blanco will always be (below) to me:


    • Posted by chris on 2010/05/25 at 11:52 AM

      I would still choose Edgar Alvarez over Dos Santos. He has been playing really well and had a great year with Bari in the Serie A this season too.


    • My Dos Santos issue would be body of work. I’ve been impressed with him in short bursts as well, but I’d need to see consistent strong play v quality opponents (club or country) to merit serious consideration.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 12:55 PM

        Agreed on elder Dos Santos….the US in the coming years is going to be in for a rude awakening by the younger, Jonathan Dos Santos who plays midfield for Barcelona’s senior team (got promoted from the b squad this year).

        I believe he’s just 20.

        He’s also out of contract at the end of this year.

        Prediction — next North American to play midfield for a top 4 EPL squad — Jonathan Dos Santos at Arsenal.

        Low confidence on this prediction…but I’ve got a shot.


        • I think you could roll a 3-sided die (which would be horribly awkwardly shaped but for the purpose of the analogy let’s just go with it) between him, Dempsey, and Donovan and have most of the betting covered.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 3:04 PM

          I know Mexico is North American in NAFTA terms, but most people think of North America as the United States and Canada. Just saying!

          But I concede this is a CONCACAF thread…


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/05/25 at 3:57 PM

          I think that rude awakening is canceled out by um, let’s see Stu, OG, Gale Agboussomonde, Jozy, CD9 anyone?

          I understand what you’re saying but I’m positive our rate of growth is faster than Mexico’s is. Yea they have guys like Dos Santos Bros. Vela, and Chicharito who are with top 4 EPL clubs(although in the reserves) but I think one of the reasons why some of our own youngsters like Jozy, Gale, Duka, Gil, OG aren’t being invested in is because of a long-standing bias against American footballers.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 8:09 PM

        Howard, Spector & Rossi were all at United, but didn’t cut the mustard.


  7. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 11:38 AM

    BTW MatthewSF, I love your little captions. They are very Red Top-esque! “The Spurs strongman makes both lists…”


  8. How has no one mentioned Bocanegra? He is much better then DeMerit.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 12:53 PM

      Oh wow….did you just got there on a game day Evan.

      I’m a firm believer that if DeMerit was going into this WC fully fit and a little more youthful he’d be snapped up by another EPL team in a heartbeat.

      Of the two, DeMerit was the last one to play well at the EPL level….


      • I like DeMerit I just happen to think that Boca is better. I fondly remember the 2007 Gold Cup Final when he juked Jared Borghetti so bad that Borghetti tore up his knee and was forced to leave the game.

        On an unrelated note, I just won some free autographed headgear from Alecko Eskandarian on Twitter. Just wanted to give a shout out for Alecko who has been a class act and my role model for the past 6 years.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/05/25 at 1:30 PM

          Oh wow…I hadn’t thought of that play since you just brought it up.

          Alecko commented on a site photo the other day — totally classy guy — you know what…let’s get him for an interview.


        • Make sure to let the community know if that happens. I would love to ask him some questions.


        • sick man. can’t wait


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 1:36 PM

        I have to chime in here. I admit I haven’t seen too much of DeMerit this season, but when Palace played Watford, we turned them over pretty easily. I was keeping an eye out for DeMerit, and he did not look like an International class defender on that day. He looked like he was playing at the level his ability justified. I know it was just one game, but…


    • Posted by ETJ on 2010/05/25 at 12:55 PM

      I thought about mentioning that as well, but first of all Boca plays only left back for his club and DeMerit is IMO as good as Boca at center back… nonetheless there is definitely an argument to be made and I’m suprised as well that no one put Boca in their top 11


  9. I wish this had been all time CONCACAF. Cienfuegos, Hugo Sanchez, Claudio Suarez, Brian McBride, Juan Paulo Wanchope, it would be a long list, but cool to honor the past.


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/05/25 at 8:11 PM

    Edit: Please take Onyewu off my Best of CONCACAF Team. He was proper pony tonight.


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