Monday, October 3, 2022

El Salvador Greatest All-Time Team

 This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

World Cup 1982

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

The El Salvador national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de El Salvador) represents El Salvador in international football, and is governed by the Salvadoran Football Federation (FESFUT).

In 1899, two teams from Santa Ana and San Salvador met for the first known football game in El Salvador. The national team's first match was played in September 1921, when they were invited to participate in a tournament to celebrate 100 years of Central American Independence.

El Salvador has made two FIFA World Cup appearances: first in 1970 and again in 1982, but have never progressed beyond the first stage of a finals tournament. They were the 1943 CCCF champions, and finished in second-place in the 1941 and 1961 championships. They have competed in the CONCACAF regional tournaments fourteen times, finishing as runners-up in 1963 and 1981. La Selecta also competes in the biennial UNCAF Nations Cup, the Pan American Games, the Olympics, and have won two gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Games.

The Estadio Cuscatlán, also known as "El Coloso de Montserrat" and "La Catedral del Espectáculo", is the official home stadium of the El Salvador national football team. 

This is my all-time team for El SalvadorIf there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

World Cup 1970

GK: Raúl Magaña 
Nicknamed Araña (spider) and even El Gran Salvadoreño (the great Salvadoran), Raúl Magaña played for many clubs in El Salvador as well as clubs in Guatemala and Canada.  Between 1958 and 1953, he played for FAS at home, where his career was mainly linked with. Nicknamed Araña (spider) and even El Gran Salvadoreño (the great Salvadoran), Magaña represented his country at their first ever World Cup, the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

After the 1982 World Cup, he moved to Spanish side Real Murcia. He also played for Platense, Atlético Marte, Once Lobos, Club Xelajú MC and Aurora FC.  He is the youngest goalkeeper ever capped in the national team's history. During the qualification rounds for WC Finals in 1982, he only conceded one goal, but at the WC Finals, he sadly became the goalkeeper with the most goals scored against in a single match. 
Alfaro was ranked number 8 in the World's Most Successful Goalscoring Goalkeepers of All Time with 31 goals.  Eleven of those coming from penalty kicks.  For his club career, he played for many clubs.  Misael Alfaro started his career at juvenile team of Destroyer La Libertad in 1987.  He played for Alianza,. Luis Ángel Firpo, San Salvador FC, Águila.  He ended his career at Isidro Metapán of the Salvadoran Primera División in 2010.  He had 42 caps.

CB/RB: Ricardo Saprissa 
Born in El Salvador of Spanish parents, Saprissa played football with RCD Espanyol, as well as in tennis, field hockey and polo. He won Spain's football national championship with RCD Espanyol in 1928, the field hockey national championship in 1924, and the tennis national championships in 1923 and 1924. He participated with Spain at the Paris Olympic Games in 1924 and on the Spanish Davis Cup team in 1930. He moved to Costa Rica, in 1932, where he founded Deportivi Saprissa, the most successful club in Costa Rica.

CB/RB: Jamie Rodriguez
A defender, Rodríguez played professionally for different clubs around the world. Among these were El Salvador's Alianza F.C., Mexico's Club Léon and F.C. Atlas, and Germany's Bayer Uerdingen (now known as KFC Uerdingen 05). He also played for teams in Japan's NKK, Yokohama Flügels and Finland's KPV. He was capped 30 times for El Salvador.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1982.

Paco Jovel started playing football with the Calaveras football team in the Salvadoran second division when only 14 years old and joined  Firpo in 1972.  He won his only league title during a couple of seasons with Águila. He was nicknamed el Káiser because his playing style resembling that of Franz Beckenbauer. For the national team. he was capped 110 times between 1976 and 1986.  He played in the 1982 World Cup Finals for El Salvador.
Luis Guevara Mora and Jose Francisco Jovel
CM/CB/LB: Jorge Rodriguez 
Nicknamed El Zarco, Jorge Rodríguez started his career with Salvadoran Second Division outfit Huracán in 1989 and has played professionally for Salvadoran Premier Division sides Isidro Metapán, FAS, Águila and Alianza as well as for Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas). For El Salvador, he has earned a total of 71 caps, scoring 9 goals between 1991 and 2004.

Nicknamed Loco (crazy), Regalado made his debut for El Salvador in a December 1943 CCCF Championship match against Guatemala and has earned a total of 62 caps, scoring 3 goals. These numbers include non-official matches. His final game for his country was on 19 June 1955.  He played for Salvadoran league clubs Libertad, Espana, Luis Ángel Firpo and Atlético Marte. He played for Luis Angel Firpo between 1939 and 1952.

Nicknamed Chamba, he was selected to represent El Salvador for ten years and featured in qualifying and playing in the 1970 World Cup. He was their captain in the 1970 World Cup.  He began his footballing career at Mario Calvo in the third division and moved up to the Primera División de Fútbol de El Salvador when he joined Atlante.  But he spent the major part of his career at Salvadoran giants Alianza and also played for Platense Zacatecoluca, after which he retired in 1977. 

Nicknamed Imacasa after the company he worked for, Recinos began his professional football career at FAS where he stayed for sixteen years. He won the CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 1979.  In 1985, he joined Alianza.  He also played for El Salvador for 10 years and represented his country in 16 FIFA World Cup qualification matches and at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. Recinos also played for El Salvador at the 1975 Pan American Games.

Darwin Cerén began his professional career with Juventud Independiente.  In 2014, he joined Orlando City in 2014, where he was named their Player of the Year.  He also won the Latino Del Año MLS in the same year.  After a season with San Jose Earthquakes, he joined Houston Dynamo in 2018.  With 86 caps, he is El Salvador's most capped player.  He made his debut in 2012 against New Zeland. He also served as their captain.  His younger brother Oscar also played for El Salvador.
Darwin Cerén 
CM: Conrado Miranda  
Miranda played with Pipiles, Independiente de San Vicente, CD Alacranes(Atlético Marte), Uruguay de Coronado(Costa Rica), Atlético Marte, Club Sport La Libertad, Conrado Miranda, and Águila of San Miguel.  He often served as a player-coach. He represented El Salvador as a captain most of the time from 1948 to 1955, during this period El Salvador won the Gold Medal at the VII Central American and Caribbean Games in 1954 in Mexico.

Huezo started his career at UES and played for ANTEL before joining Atlético Marte in 1976. He then had a spell in Mexican football but returned to Marte.  He played for Spanish side Palencia and Cartagena FC.  He played for Costa Rican outfit Herediano and then for Guatemalan side Jalapa. He finished his career at FAS. From 1977 to 1989, he played for El Salvador.  He went to the 1982 World Cup Finals.

AM/CM: Mauricio Cienfuegos 
Cienfuegos began his career in 1985 with Racing Junior. He also played for Soyapango, and Luís Ángel Firpo in El Salvador,  for Morelia and Santos Laguna in Mexico. He joined LA Galaxy in 1996, where he stayed until 2003. He was elected to the MLS Best XI three times, in 1996, 1998, and 1999, and played in seven MLS All-Star Games. During his MLS career, Galaxy won the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 2001 U.S. Open Cup, and the 2002 MLS Cup. Capped 68 times.
Mauricio Cienfuegos 
RW: Mauricio “Pipo” Rodríguez 
Mauricio “Pipo” Rodríguez began playing professionally for Atlante San Alejo in 1962. He was signed, on a one-year loan basis, by C.D. FAS.  Rodriguez permanently signed and played out his soccer career at Universidad from 1963 to 1972. He scored the winning against Honduras in 1969, which might have led to the famous Football War. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1970 for El Salvador.

LW/CM: Juan Francisco Barraza 
Juan Francisco Barraza was born in 1935. He was an all-time great in El Salvador.  He made his professional debut with Dragón in 1953.  In 1958 he joined Deportivo Águila, with whom he won several league titles. He played for them until 1970.  He won five consecutive titles between 1959 and 1968 for them. He earned 30 caps scored 13 goals for the national team of El Salvador in official games between 1959 and 1969.  He had 24 goals in 64 caps includimng unofficial games.

AM/FW: Magico Gonzalez
His real name is Jorge Alberto Gonzalez. Some said that he would be ranked among the greatest players ever if he was born Brazilian or Argentine.   He played for ANTEL and Independiente Nacional 1906 over the course of two seasons, before moving to Club Deportivo Fútbolistas Asociados Santanecos. He was a star at La Liga during the 1980's.  He mainly played for Cadiz, where he remained very loyal despite offers from bigger clubs. He led El Salvador to the first and only World Cup Finals in 1982.  He had 62 caps.
Magico Gonzalez
FW: Rodolfo Zelaya
Zelaya started in 2005 with San Rafael.  he played for many clubs in El Salvador before moving to play for Leon in Mexico.  He returned to play for Alianza, where he was a big star.  He had unsuccess spells Los Angeles FC in MLS, Alania Vladikavkaz in Russia and Celaya in Mexico.  Between 2008 and 2019, he had 52 caps for El Salvador.  He was named in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI in 2011 and 2013.

FW: Luis Ramírez Zapata
Nicknamed El Pelé, he spent nearly 20 years playing for Salvadoran club Águila. He also would go on to play for Atlético Marte and Alianza in his homeland El Salvador and spent time abroad playing for Cartaginés in Costa Rica, scoring 11 goals, and Puebla in Mexico. In 1990, he played for the Washington Diplomats of the American Professional Soccer League.  He was a member of the El Salvador team at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. During the tournament, he scored their only goal in World Cup history.

 Ronald Cerritos 
Ronald Cerritos started his career with ADET in 1993.  He has spent the bulk of his career playing in MLS, being signed by the league in 1997.  His best stint was with San Jose Clash Earthquakes  where he played between 1997 and 2001, winning the MLS Cup in 2001.  He later played with Dallas Burn, DC United and Houston Dynamo.  He was named MLS Best XI in 1997. He is a member of San Jose Earthquakes Hall of Flame.  For El Salvador, he has over 70 caps between 1993 and 2008.
Ronald Cerritos
ST Miguel Cruz 
Nicknamed el Americano (the American), Cruz played club football in El Salvador, before going to Chile to play professionally alongside compatriot Armando Chacón at Universidad Católica.  In 1935, he made his international debut in El Salvador's first group stage match at the 1935 Central American Games against Cuba. He scored 16 goals for El Salvador from 1935 to 1943. He represented his country at the 1935 Central American Games.

ST: Juan Ramon Martinez 
Mon Martinez played in the 1968 and 1970 Olympic Games and the World Cup.  He began his career with local club, Club Deportivo Águila in 1964He won the Salvadoran championship for the first time in the 1967-68 season . He got his second title in 1971 with CD Juventud Olímpica . Later, he played abroad with the CSD Municipal of Guatemala and the Indiana Tigers of the United States, together with his compatriots Raúl Magaña , Rafael Búcaro and Jorge Suárez.

FW: Raul Diaz Arce 
Raul Diaz Arce made his name with C.D. Luis Ángel Firpo, where he would go on to win the league's top scorer 3 times in a row (1993–1996).  In 1996, he joined DC United.  In his first season with United, he was second in scoring for the league behind Roy Lassiter. With them, he won two MLS Cups in 1996 and 1997. In 1998, he was traded to New England Revolution.  From 1999, he played for many MLS clubs. Arce was capped 68 caps for El Salvador between 1987 and 2003.
Raul Diaz Arce
Honorable Mention
Luis "Manotas" Castro, Carlos Melendez, Manuel Garay, Juan Jose Gomez , Carlos Carlanga Rivera, Raul "Superman" Garcia,  Gualberto "Pulpo"  Fernandez, Vladan Visevic, Leonel Cárcamo, Roberto Rivas, Guillermo Castro, Víctor Velasquez, Ramon Fagoaga, Mario Castillo, Castro Borja, Eliseo Antonio Quintanilla, Gustavo Marroquin, Ever Hernandez, Sergio Méndez, Armando Chacon Senior, José María Rivas. 

Squad Explanation
-- Jorgo Magico Gonzalez was El Salvador's greatest footballer. Mauricio Cienfuegos and Juan Francisco Barraza were probably also automatic selections.  They were followed by Noberto Huezo, Luis Ramírez Zapata and Raul Diaz Arce. 
-- In 1970, El Salvador became the first Central American country to qualify for the World Cup.  The World Cup team of El Salvador in 1970 was under represented here.  Mon Martinez, Mauricio “Pipo” Rodríguez and Raúl Magaña were the only players on this all-time team.  The World Cup Qualifier between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969 led to the "Football War", a brief war between the two countries. A peace treaty was not signed until 1980.  Two years later, both countries qualified to the World Cup Finals in Spain.
-- El Salvador's World Cup 1982 team included Carlos Recinos, Noberto Huezo, Jose Francisco Jovel, Jamie Rodriguez and Magico Gonzalez. It was not a good Finals for them where they lost 10-1 against Hungary.
-- A survey among El Salvador's journalists was conducted by EDH DEPORTES in 2013 to determine their country's 50 greatest ever footballers.  Magico González easily won the poll.  He was followed by Juan Francisco Barraza and Pipo Rodríguez in that order.  Norberto Huezo, Raúl Magaña, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Luis Ramirez Zapata, Jamie Rodríguez and Raúl Díaz Arce were also on top of the poll.
-- IFFHS selected the following players as their All-Time Best XI for El Salvador: Raúl Magaña, Jaime Rodríguez, Francisco Jovel, Luis Antonio Regalado, Carlos Recinos, Norberto Huezo, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Pipo Rodríguez, Mágico González, Luis Ramírez Zapata and Juan Francisco Barraza.
-- I based on my research on three All-Time Best XI teams from El Gráfico.  They were as followed:
-- Misael Alfaro, Salvador Mariona, Jaime Rodríguez, Francisco Jovel, Norberto Huezo, Eliseo Antonio Quintanilla, Marcos Cienfugos
Juan Francisco Barraza, Magico Gonzalez, Rodolfo Zelaya and Mauricio "Pipo" Rodríguez
 -- Misael Alfaro, Leonel Carcamo, Francisco Jovel, Mario Castillo, Carlos Recinos, Mauricio Cienfugos, Norberto Huezo, Luis Ramírez Zapata, Juan Francisco Barraz, Magico Gonzalez, Rodolfo Zelaya,
-- Misael Alfaro, Roberto Rivas, Jaime Rodríguez, Francisco Jovel,
Carlos Recinos, Norberto Huezo, Carlos Castro Borja, Eliseo Antonio Quintanilla, Magico Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Barraza and Rodolfo Zelaya.
-- El Salvador won the 1943 Central American and Caribbean gold Championship.  I selected Luis “El Loco” Regalado and Miguel “Americano” Cruz.  In 1954, they took the football gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games.  Conrado Miranda, Francisco Barraza and Luis Regalado were from that generation. 
-- Raúl Magaña is probably El Salvador's greatest ever goalkeepers. Luis Guevara Mora was the all-time cap leader for El Salvador national team.  The two goalkeepers represented El Salvador at the their World Cup Finals respectively.
 Raúl Magaña 
-- Diario AS of Spain listed Misael Alfaro as one of the greatest goal scoring goalkeepers of all-time alongside Rogerio Ceni and Jose Luis Chilavert.  All three of El Gráficoll-time Best XI teams listed him as the starting goalkeeper.  I picked him over Manuel "Tamalón" Garay for my third goalkeeper.
-- Manuel "Tamalón" Garay was ranked 10th by the IFFHS for their CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Century election.  He finished highest among goalkeepers from El Salvador.  He helped his country to win the 1954 Central American and Caribbean Games.  I did not find much information about him.  He was largely a forgotten player even in El Salvador.  His name did appear in several all-time lists in El Salvadoran source, but not ranked as high as Raúl Magaña, Misael Alfaro and Luis Guevara Mora.  In English sites, of course, he was in the top two.  I decided to go against him in the top three. He along with Raul Garcia or Carlos Rivera was probably my 4th choice. 
-- I also studied those goalkeepers: Luis "Manotas" Castro, Carlos Caho Melendez, Manuel Tamalon Garay, Juan Jose Gomez , Carlos Carlanga Rivera, Raul Garcia "Superman" and Gualberto "Pulpo"  Fernandez.
-- Jaime Rodríguez or Francisco Jovel were considered El Salvador's greatest defenders.
-- Ricardo Saprissa is on my Espanyol All-Time team. Not many people listed him as an all-timer from here.  How many Salvadoran footballer had a better career in Europe than him? He was eligible for this team because he was born in El Salvador.  He represented Spain and Costa Rica in tennis, not football.  Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica was named after him.  He was a rightback or central defender.  Then, I selected Jaime Rodríguez (also a central defender) who was a overwhelmly selection by most all-time lists.  He won the CONCACAF Champions League with FAS and the Salvadoran league title with Alianza.  One El Salvadoran site ranked him as the 4th greatest footballer from there. Many people also considered Leonel Cárcamo, but both Saprissa and Rodriguez was too big of a name.  I also had Roberto Rivas.
-- Alfredo Pacheco was mentioned as a serious candidate for the leftback.  At one point, he was El Salvador's most capped footballer. However, his failure in MLS counted against him.  I normally kept off field scandals or incidents away from my decisions, but his match fixing ban did cloud my decision.  So Carlos Recinos was probably a safe bet for the leftback position.  One of El Gráfico's selections and IFFHS also took him.
-- Francisco Jovel was the obvious choices for my first central defender.  One of El Gráfico's selections and IFFHS took Luis Antonio Regalado.  He was on El Salavdor's 1943 CCCF Championship.  Salvador Mariona was the captain of their 1970 World Cup team.
-- For the last central defender, I looked into Leonel Carcamo, Víctor Velasquez, Ramon Fagoaga and Mario Castillo, but I took Jorge Rodríguez.  He was a standout player in Dallas Burns.  Leonel Carcamo was on my Central American All-Time team I created in 2018, but when I did this team, I could not understand why.  He has played all of his professional career at hometown club Luis Ángel Firpo between 1985 and 2001, becoming a club legend in the process.  He has amassed a total of 84 caps in 13 years, scoring no goals. 
Jorge Rodríguez
-- Vladan Visevic a naturalised Salvadoran defender from Serbia was well-known as his time, but he only played 23 times for El Salvador.  I only put him on honorable mention.  I also came upon a defender named Francisco Zamora.  His name was not mentioned in any of my research.  He was an All-Timer for Alianza.
-- CB Jorge Rodríguez could also play as a defensive midfielder, but I still needed more midfielders.  Darwin Cerén was Orlando City Player of the Year, but his performance in MLS was somewhat mixed.  Basically, I selected him because I needed more defensive midfielders and I should also honor him because he is El Salvador's most capped player.
-- Norberto Huezo “El Pajarito ” was in all six lists that I researched on.  He scored the decisive goal that helped El Salvador to qualify for the 1982 World Cup Finals.  He also had a brief career in Spain. Conrado Miranda served as El Salvador's captain most of the time from 1948 to 1955, during this period El Salvador won the Gold Medal at the VII Central American and Caribbean Games in 1954 in Mexico.
-- Maurcicio Cienfuegos' peak was with Los Angeles Galaxy.  He played seven seasons winning the CONCACAF Champions Cup, MLS Cup, the Supporters' Shield twice and was selected to MLS All-Star games 7 times.  He was a big star in MLS.
-- Many people said that Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez was one of the greatest players ever played the game.  Diego Maradona considered him one of the greatest ever players he had seen. If he was a Brazilian, he would have been a household names according to many who saw him playing in La Liga.  He also played for a big European club.
-- Mauricio "Pipo" Rodríguez was also a key figure for the Salvadorans when they qualified for the 1968 Mexico Olympics and the 1970 World Cup. Nicknamed the "Left-Handed Professor", Juan Francisco Barraza: immortalized himself in the history of Deportivo Águila by winning five consecutive titles between 1959 and 1968.
Juan Francisco Barraza 
-- Nicknamed El Tamarindo, Armando Chacon Senior was one of the first Salvadoran players to play abroad.  He played for Universidad Católica in Chile between 1940 and 1948.  I found limited information on him.  So I only put him on honorable mention.  His son was also named Armando Chacon.  
-- With 81 caps, Dennis Atlas is the third most capped player from El Salvador.  However, he was banned from playing football in 2012 for match-fixing. I only put him on honorable mention.  
-- I also looked into Carlos Castro Borja and Eliseo Antonio Quintanilla.
-- I first took Luis Ramirez "El Pele" Zapata who was named in top 10 greatest ever El Salvadoran player from a list I found on the internet.  He was also selected to be onto IFFHS's Best Xi team.
-- Nicknamed 'Toto', Raúl Díaz Arce is El Salvador's All-Time leading scorer. He is one of my personal favourite player.  I watched him while he was playing with DC United. His achievement in MLS put him on the list.  
-- Juan Ramón "Mon" Martínez was the hero of El Salvador's 1970 World Cup qualification.  He was their top scorer in the campaign.  He scored the decisive goal that helped El Salvador to qualify for the World Cup Finals.  One journalist named him El Salvador's greatest player ahead of "Magico" Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Barraza.
-- Ronald Cerritos was a top player while in MLS, but he was mentioned less than I expected.  He only scored 17 goals in 78 caps.  His ratio was very lowe.  Nevertheless, I still took him.
-- Miguel Cruz helped El Salvador to win the 1943 CCCP Cup. 
-- Rodolfo 'Fito' Zelaya was a big star with Alianza, but an injury derailed his career in Russia.  His reputation further tarnished by a match-fixing ban.  However, he did appear in many of the lists of El Salvador's All-Time greats.  His ranking in EDH Deportes dropped scandal. 
Rodolfo 'Fito' Zelaya