Saturday, February 3, 2018

Honduras Greatest All-Time Team

Honduras Copa America 2001
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Honduras played its first ever international game in the Independence Centenary Games in September 1921, losing 10–1 to Guatemala.  Its first inclusion to the international was a rude awaking.  At the time of writing, Honduras has qualified three times for the World Cup Finals, in 1982, 2010 and 2014. It has also participated in Copa America as an invited team.  In 2001, Honduras shocked Brazil by beatimng 2-0 in the quarterfinal and reached the semi-final of the Copa America held in Colombia.


Team
GK: Noel Valladares
Valladares played domestic football at home with Montagua and Olimpia. He is the 2nd leading cap holder for the national team.  He earned 135 caps as he was a major player during the World Cup Finals in 2010.  He earned the Man of the Match award against Switzerland.  His nickname in the Honduran squad is The Secret due to his shy personality away from the field. 
Noel Valladares
GK: Julio Cesar Arzu
Nicknamed Tile, Julio Cesar Arzu has played for Honduran side Real España, in Spain for Racing de Santander and had a spell with ADET in El Salvador. With España he once kept successive clean sheets totalling 686 minutes. He was their starting goalkeeper at the 1982 FIFA World Cup Finals in Spain.

GK: Wilmer Cruz
Nicknamed Pájaro (Bird) and Supermán, Wilmar Cruz played 129 league matches for Real C.D. España and also had spells with Platense F.C., F.C. Motagua and Deportes Savio as well as short stints with C.D.S. Vida, Independiente Villela and C.D. Victoria. He played his final league game in January 2001 for Savio against Olimpia. he had 63 caps.

CB/RB: Allan Costly 
Nicknamed Cochero ("The Coachman"), Costly had 41 caps.  He played at the 1977 FIFA World Youth Championship.  He was a part of Honduras' 1982 World Cup team in Spain.  He played mainly at home for Real Espana, but also briefly with Malaga in Spain during the 1982-1983 season. His son is Honduran international striker Carlo Costly.
Allan Costly 
RB: Mauricio Sabillón 
Sabillón began his career with Marathón in 1999 and remained at the club for more than ten years and was viewed as one of the teams top players. He joined China's Hangzhou Greentown in 2010.  Sabillón made his debut for Honduras in a May 2001 UNCAF Nations Cup match against Panama and has earned a total of 49 caps, scoring no goals. He was a part of the World Cup team in 2010.

CB/LB: Maynor Figueroa 
Maynor Figueroa is known for his career with Wigan in the Preimership, whom he played between 2008 ands 2013. He also played in the MLS with Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas.  Since 2003, he has played for the Honduran national team, serving as its captain. He played in the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014. At the time of writing, he has 146 caps, the second most for Honduras.
Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirre 
CB: Samuel Caballero
Caballero began his career with hometown club Deportivo Melgar. He played with Olimpia from 1996 to 2001. In 2001, he moved to Serie A to play for Udinese, where his career was derailed by an injury. He later played with Salernitana, Defensor in Uruguay, Chicago Fire in the US, Changchun Yatai in China and Necaxa in Mexico.  Caballero has played an important part at the national team setup for over 10 years. He was a part of the team that reached the Copa America semifinal in 2001.

LB: Emilio Izaguirre 
Emilio Izaguirre started his career with Montagua.  He was a key payer with Celtic in Scotland from 2010 to 2017.  He won the Scotland's Premiership Player of the Year, the SFWA Player of the Year and SPFA Player of the Year and Celtic Player of the Year in 2010, making a sweep of all individual award in Scotland. Earned over 90 caps.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.
Emilio Izaguirre
RB/DM: Danilo Turcios  
Turcios began his professional career with Universidad. He played with F.C. Motagua, Deportivo Maldonado, Defensor Sporting, Peñarol,  Estudiantes Tecos of Mexico, Olimpia, Comunicaciones of Guatemala, Atlanta Silverbacks and UPNIFM. He had a very unsuccessful and controversial time with Real Sociedad.  He had 87 caps.  He was a member of the national squad at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the 2001 Copa America in Colombia and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

DM: Wilson Palacios 
Wilson Palacios started with Olimpia at home.  He played in the English Premiership between 2007 and 2015 for Wigan, Tottenham Hotspurs and Stoke City. He also had a spell in the MLS with  Miami. He had three brothers who also played for Honduras.  He himself earned 97 caps. He went to 2010 and 2014 World Cup Finals.

DM: Gilberto Yearwood 
Gilberto Yearwood is regarded as Honduras' greatest ever player.  He spent 10 seasons playing in Spain.  He played for for Elche CF, Real Valladolid, CD Tenerife and Celta de Vigo. At home, he played with Real Espana, C.D. Olimpia, F.C. Motagua and C.D. Marathón. He made his international debut at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. He had 46 caps for Honduras between 1982 and 1993.
Golberto Yearwood 
DM: Ramon Maradiaga,
Nicknamed "Primitivo", Ramon Maradiaga played with F.C. Motagua as well as Salvadoran giants Águila and Alianza. He also had half a season in Europe, for Spain's Tenerife in 1984. He finished his career at Tela Timsa after the 1991–1992 season. He had 47 caps and went to the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

DM/LW/LB: Roger Espinoza 
Born in Honduras, his family moved to the United States, where he grew up. He was a college star player before entering the MLS with Sporting Kansas City.  He played one year with Wigan in 2013-14 season.  At the time of writing, he is capped 46 times.  He played in both World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.

RW: Edgar Alvarez
Nicknamed El Mosky or El Jet Álvarez, he moved from Deportivo Platense to Penarol of Uruguay in 2003.  He went templet in Italy in 2005. He joined AS Roma, but played on loan with Messina, Livorno and Pisa. In 2009, he joined Bari.  Later, he played Palermo and Dinamo București.  Since 2002, he had over 50 caps.  He was a member of the 2010 World Cup team.

AM: Julio César de León 
He started with C.D. Platense at home. Signed by Reggina, he played for them well in Serie B, but later he was sent on loan to Fiorentina, Teramo, Catanzaro and Sambenedettese. He later played for Parma, Genoa, Shandong Luneng, Messina, Real Sociedad, Miami FC, etc.  He had 83 caps. He also competed for Honduras at the 2000 Summer Olympics and he also was part of the squad that came third in the 2001 Copa América. He missed the WC in 2010 through an injury.

AM: Amado Guevara 
Amado Guevara is the all-time cap leader for Honduras.  He captained them at the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.  He was best remembered for taking Honduras to third place at the Copa America in 2001.  He was the MVP of the tournament.  He was also the MLS MVP in 2004 while playing with New York Metrostars(now called Red Bulls). He also played domestic football at home as well as in Spain, Costa Rico and Mexico.
Amado Guevara 
FW: Wilmer Velásquez
He is currently the all-time top goalscorer in the Honduran National Football League with 196 goals, and was the second player to reach 150 goals.  He started his career with Olimpia in 1990.   He also played for Concepción in Chile, Sport-Recife in Brazil and Atlas in Mexico.  In 2005, Velásquez was crowned one of the Top Goalscorers in the World by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. He made 15 goals with both the Honduras national football team and his club, Olimpia.

FW: Jorge Urquía
Jorge Urquía began his  career  with Club Atlético Indio de Tegucigalpa. In 1968, he joined Olimpia, where he became a star. With Olimpia, he won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1972 . In 1973 , Jorge Urquía  joined Alavés in Spain. He was later transferred to the Mallorca. He represented Honduras at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

FW: José Cardona 
José Cardona was a star footballer  in the 1950's.  He played for Lusitano in Portugal before moving to Spain in 1959.  He was signed by Valencia, but was on loan to Elche in the 2nd Division, where he was the top scorer in 1959.  In 1964, he moved to Atletico Madrid.  He scored the winning goal as Atletico Madrid won Copa del Generalísimo in 1965. 
José Cardona

ST: José Roberto Figueroa
In Honduras, José Roberto Figueroa played for for F.C. Motagua and C.D.S. Vida.  He was a member of Honduras' World Cup team in 1982.  After the World Cup Finals,. he joined Real Murcia in Spain, helping them to reach La Liga.   He also played for Hércules CF.  At the end of his career, he played in Costa Rica with C.S. Cartaginés.  

ST: Carlos Pavon
Carlos Pavon has played for many clubs around the world, including Real Espana at home, Geona and Udinese in Italy, Real Valladolid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the USA, and many clubs in Mexico, including Toluca, San Luis, Correcaminos, Necaxa, Cruz Azul, and Celaya. He is Honduras' all-time leading scorer. He made a single appearance at the World Cup Finals in 2010, where he retired afterward.

ST: David Suazo 
David Suazo is probably the most famous player from his country.  He started with Olimpi, but he was more known for his career in Italy, where he spent 13 years playing over 300 games.  He played for Cagliari and Inter Milan in Italy, and briefly with Benfica and Genoa.  He was Serie A Foreign Player of the year in 2006. He had 57 caps.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010. 
David Suazo
Honorable Mention
Boniek García, Milton Nunez, Jorge Urquia, Andy Najar, Eugenio Dolmo Flores, Arnold Cruz, Carlo Costly, Jamie Villegas
Cesar Obando, Jimmy James Bailey.

Squad Explanation
-- Players not from the bigger European or South American countries seldom won Player of the Award. Emilio Izaguirre won the Scotland's Premiership Player of the Year, the SFWA Player of the Year and SPFA Player of the Year and Celtic Player of the Year in 2010, making a sweep of all individual award in Scotland. He did it as a fullback. David Suazo was also Foreign Player of the Year in Italy.
-- Most of the players came from the 1982 World Cup team and the generations after the year 2000 when Honduras went to the Olympics.
-- Jamie Villegas was a legend at Real Espana, but the younger generation of players all succeeded at the highest level playing outside Honduras.  I put him on Honorable Mention.
-- Porfirio Bethancourth is among the greatest college soccer player in the United States, but I do not know if he is considered an all-timer for Honduras.
-- I am not sure if Mauricio Sabillón and/or Roger Espinoza is the greatest fullback in history for Honduras.
-- Maynor Figueroa moved to centerback because of Emilio Izaguirre.  Honduras happened to have two of their greatest left back from the same generation.
-- José Cardona was one of the first player from Honduras to star for a club in Europe.
-- Injuries prevented Samuel Caballero from reaching stardom in Europe, but for the national team, he was among the greatest ever.  Honduras was unlucky not to qualify for the WC Finals during his prime.
-- Cesar Obando's injuries kept him from becoming an all-time great.  He is on my honorable mention. Instead, I took
Ramon Maradiaga, the captain of the 1982 World Cup Team.
-- The team had too many fowards.  Milton Nunez was left off and Andy Najar is only in his early 20's at the time of writing

Formation


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