Every Gold Cup, we get a look at some of the best players CONCACAF has to offer – and so do Major League Soccer scouts. Here are a few names that have shown well over the last ten days and might be an interesting fit in MLS. For purposes of this list, we didn’t include players already playing in top European leagues.
Ariel Martinez (Cuba – Midfield)
A real threat on the wings, Martinez gave Costa Rica fits with his incisive runs at Jeld-Wen Field. The 27-year-old plays for FC Sancti Spiritus of Cuba’s first division.
Brayan Beckeles (Honduras – Defender)
Solid in one-on-one defending with a nice penchant for the timely move forward, Beckeles is an exciting outside back option. Currently plays for Honduran giants Olimpia – the same club from which Houston plucked Boniek Garcia a year ago.
Michael Barrantes (Costa Rica – Midfield)
A creative force in midfield, Barrantes proved he also has the finishing touch with a pair of goals against Cuba last week. He already plays in Norway, but wouldn’t the right MLS destination be far more favorable to the left-footed playmaker?
Cecilio Waterman (Panama – Striker)
Pure pace sets this player apart, and he would’ve scored a gem against Mexico if not for the post. Currently plays for Centro Atletico Fenix of Uruguay’s top flight.
Gabriel Torres (Panama – Striker)
Score twice against Mexico (sure one was a penalty kick) and you’ve got my attention. Joined Zamora FC of Venezuela’s Primera Division last year.
Alberto Quintero (Panama – Midfield)
Earned an assist – and should’ve had a second against Mexico. Elite speed. After unsuccessful stints in lower-level Spain, returned to Panama before being loaned out to Columbian side Independiente Medellin in 2012.
Nik Ledgerwood (Canada – Defense)
This is less about Gold Cup and more about Ledgerwood’s long body of work with Canada. A physical right back that distributes reasonably well, the 28-year-old plays for Sweden’s Hammarby – which is managed by ex-U.S. international Gregg Berhalter.
Jean Sony Alcenat (Haiti – Defense)
Alcenat is under contract with FC Petrolul Ploiesti in Romania for another year, so a move to MLS may be wishful thinking – but it sure would be fun. The right back can bomb forward and has all the physical qualities to succeed here.
Jean-Eudes Maurice (Haiti – Forward)
Showed the poacher’s touch with his brace against Trinidad and Tobago but can also use his speed to create for others as he did early against El Salvador. Was loaned from PSG to Le Mans where he made eight Ligue 2 appearances last season before seeing his team relegated to the French third division.
Rodolfo Zelaya (El Salvador – Midfield/Forward)
By far the most dangerous player on the field when El Salvador and Haiti met to close out Group B play in Houston. Has quick feet and great attacking instincts, but physical nature of MLS might really challenge him. Recently wrapped a loan spell with Russian outfit Alania Vladikavkaz.