73013_elsalvador_isi_usmntbs072113109 Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Top 10 lists

Top 10 Gold Cup Breakouts, the Non-U.S. Edition

We all know Landon Donovan was great and Joe Corona made a first-team case for himself, but what about the other teams? Jon Arnold takes a look at the 10 men who improved their stock the most at the Gold Cup.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
July 30, 2013
2:14 PM
10. Marco Fabian, M, Mexico
If you had the unenviable task of selecting a bright spot for Mexico in the Gold Cup, you might pick Fabian’s emergence as a serviceable player for El Tri. Long considered a star of the future, the homegrown Chivas man scored in each of Mexico’s group games. The winger, who turned 24 during the tournament, is a Stoke transfer target, which doesn’t seem to fit with the ethos of the club, but maybe he and Brek Shea can hang out.

9. Victor Turcios, D, El Salvador “The Shark” wore the armband for El Salvador, and while the Azul y Blanco was lucky to get into the knockout stages in part because of his dive in the box, Turcios showed plenty of ability. He’s already made the jump to Europe and won a championship on the continent, but if he gets tired of frigid Finland he could make a move somewhere where the average temperature and level of football is higher.

8. Kevin Parsemain, F, Martinique
Fabrice Reuperne gave Martinique its most memorable Gold Cup moment with his volley against Canada, but the 37-year-old probably doesn’t have much professional football left in him. Parsemain, on the other hand, helped the island into the competition with a great Caribbean Cup and kept the momentum going in the biggest tournament non-FIFA members Martinique can make. It’s cruel they didn’t make the knockout stages, but perhaps crueler still that Parsemain can’t catch on with a larger club. He’s had a few shots in the French lower divisions, but perhaps a NASL or USL PRO team should give Parsemain a call.

7. Roberto Chen, D, Panama
The 19-year-old versatile defender nearly ended up on loan with Seattle. The deal looks dead, but don’t be surprised if someone else comes in for his services. Chen didn’t look at all out of place alongside the rest of the Caneleros’ steely back line, perhaps because he had such a quick rise to the senior national team two years ago.

6. Jaime Penedo, GK, Panama
Another part of La Marea Roja’s excellent defensive performance was goalkeeper Penedo, who was superb against Mexico in the semifinal. A mainstay of CONCACAF competitions, Penedo has always been just on the cusp of a big-time contract. One could finally come through after he won the prize for the best goalkeeper in the competition. The LA Galaxy are rumored to be taking a look at the 31-year-old.

5. Leonel Saint-Preux, F, Haiti
Whether my non-Francophone status or my lack of knowledge about Malaysian club football, Saint-Preux came completely out of the blue for me. He exemplified Haiti this tournament: a player that was fun to watch and would show great flashes one moment but make a foolish mistake the next. Saint-Preux once played for the Minnesota Thunder in the USL, failed a physical when he was to join the Austin Aztex, and currently labors away with FELDA United in Malaysia. Maybe it’s a question of effort or fitness, but I think his Gold Cup showing proves he could do better.

4. Gaby Torres, F, Panama
There might be a bit of Wondolowski-esque excitement behind Torres, who raced out to a Golden Boot lead with a brace against Mexico and added a third goal, his second from the spot, when Panama beat Martinique 1-0, but it’s fair to say he’s had a good summer. After finishing one goal from the top scorer with Zamora in the Venezuelan league, Torres scored to help his club lift the Grand Final trophy. The 24-year-old didn’t have the best final, getting subbed off by Julio Dely Valdes, and the ROI if the Colorado Rapids make him a Designated Player will be closely scrutinized, but for now let the summer of Torres roll on.

3. Ariel Martinez, M, Cuba
Making the knockout stages wouldn’t have been possible without Martinez’s hat trick against Belize that spurred an improbable 4-0 win. His good domestic form to close the season with Sancti Spiritus carried through, and even though he probably won’t be able to go to another team, it’s fun to think about what could be.

2. Alberto Quintero, M, Panama
Quintero, who returned home to play for Chorrillo last season after playing in Colombia and in the lower divisions in Spain, made a dramatic entrance by shredding Mexico in Panama’s 2-1 group match win. He gave an encore in the semifinal that Panama won by the same score and caused some nervous noises to be emitted from American fans with his runs in the final. Liga MX might not roll out the welcome mat, but there will be plenty of other teams happy to give Quintero, who was linked with D.C. United before the MLS season got under way, the red carpet treatment.

1. Rodolfo Zelaya, F, El Salvador
Ah, yes. With gorgeous free kicks and skill moves coupled with alert finishing (and his panenkas) Zelaya is once again the object of many an MLS fan's desire. Fito has insisted that he’s going to play with Alianza in El Salvador and returned to help Los Albos win their final preseason tune-up. He might stick around for six months and try to return the club to the Champions League, but there’s no lack of teams seeking his signature before then.

Others receiving consideration: Hondurans JC Garcia (headed to Wigan), Jorge Claros (possibly headed to Sporting Kansas City), and Andy Najar (staying with Anderlecht) were known qualities but helped themselves with good tournaments.

Ian Gaynair of Belize should probably be playing professionally, as should Deon McCaulay.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevin Molino trialed with PSV Eindhoven during the offseason but returned to Orlando City, the USL PRO team where he’s played the last three seasons. It’s hard to imagine him staying in that division much longer.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Post a comment