Guillermo Ochoa

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USMNT places three, Mexico seven, on Gold Cup Best XI

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Three United States men’s national team members were named to a Gold Cup’s Best XI littered with players from champions Mexico.

At least one of the honored Yanks will surprise you.

Christian Pulisic was probably penciled onto a number of ballots before the tournament, and he delivered in a big way for Gregg Berhalter.

[ MORE: Arnautovic leaves West Ham ]

Aaron Long was also a regular for the coach, though he had his share of fits and starts, and Michael Bradley played some exceptional passes and showed his typical calm… even the giveaways came too easy for 150-times capped American.

Canadian forward Jonathan David was the only other player not to wear El Tri colors, and he won the Golden Boot with six goals.

As for Mexico, Raul Jimenez leads the line and goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo’ Ochoa is between the sticks.

The other five are defenders Luis Rodriguez, Carlos Salcedo, and Jesus Gallardo, as well as midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Andres Guardado.

A number of big goal scorers including Uriel Antuna of Mexico and Lucas Cavallini of Mexico, did not make the cut, nor did Haiti’s energetic Duckens Nason.

Portugal wins third-place at Confederations Cup (video)

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Pepe’s stoppage time equalizer and Adrien Silva’s extra time penalty kick helped Portugal to a third-place finish in the Confederations Cup as Mexico self-destructed against the EURO 2016 champs in Russia on Sunday.

A Luis Neto own goal and missed Portugal PK had Mexico up 1-0 until the late stages, but Portugal’s deserved win came after the teams played level through 90 minutes for a second time in two weeks.

Nelson Semedo was shown red in the 106th minute, but Raul Jimenez was shown his second yellow six minutes left in the match. Mexico should have been awarded a penalty near the end of stoppage time, but Pepe’s clever foul went uncalled and Juan Carlos Osorio was sent from the stadium after barking into the fourth official’s ear and bumping him.

Portugal will finish third in its first Confederations Cup, while Mexico finishes fourth for the second time.

[ MORE: 2017 Confederations Cup news ]

Rafa Marquez chopped down Andre Silva in the 18, and Video Assistant Referee made sure the Mexican defender gave away a penalty kick.

Marquez was given yellow for the takedown, as he kicked Silva’s knee. The new AC Milan attacker took the pen with Cristiano Ronaldo away from the team, but Guillermo Ochoa dove low and right to slap the ball wide of the frame (VIDEO).

Portugal then headed the ensuing corner over the frame, and the match remained scoreless in the 18th minute.

Chances at either end went wanting as Pizzi’s far post shot took a slight uncalled deflection that dragged wide for a goal kick, and Marquez nearly bundled a crossed free kick past Rui Patricio.

The Portuguese keeper made a point-blank stop on Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the 31st minute, drawing “Mex-i-co” chants from the Spartak Stadium crowd.

Portugal was on the front foot in the second half, with Joao Moutinho blazing an effort over the bar and Gelson Martins shooting a clever chipped pass from Silva outside the near post.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Yet Mexico went ahead through Chicharito’s cross banging off Luis Neto and into the Portugal goal in the 54th minute.

Pizzi missed wide with a bid for an equalizer just before the hour mark. Ochoa then made a terrific one-handed stop on a Martins header. Captain Nani then headed the ensuing corner wide of the far post.

Pepe then knotted things up in stoppage time, leaping for a martial arts-style finish of substitute Ricardo Quaresma’s cross to make it 1-1.

Jimenez saw a shot deflected out for a corner early in the first period of extra time, and the ensuing corner led to Patricio’s stellar save at the back post.

After what could’ve been red cards to both sides in the Portugal end, Martins won the decisive penalty kick when his cheeky juggle around Miguel Layun clipped the former Watford man’s raised arm.

Mexico nearly found a rescue of its own following the pair of red cards, but Patricio dove to save from Hector Herrera’s bullet. Then Pepe was allowed a push of Hector Moreno as the latter missed a close-range header deep into the second period of extra time. Mexico could have easily been given a penalty, but was not.

VIDEO: VAR gives Portugal a penalty, Ochoa bails out Marquez

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Rafa Marquez chopped down Andre Silva in the 18, and Video Assistant Referee made sure the Mexican defender gave away a penalty kick.

[ STREAM LIVE: Portugal vs. Mexico ]

Marquez was given yellow for the takedown, as he kicked Silva’s knee. The new AC Milan attacker took the pen with Cristiano Ronaldo away from the team, but Guillermo Ochoa dove low and right to slap the ball wide of the frame.

Portugal then headed the ensuing corner over the frame, and the match remained scoreless in the 18th minute. This was VAR at its best. though there are plenty of counter examples from this 2017 Confederations Cup.

Enough about the USMNT, what’s going on with Mexico?

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While United States supporters are understandably focused on the failure of their side to get a result on Friday, Mexico fans can feel buoyed by snatching all three points in the former house of horrors now called MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.

Most of our staff argued that El Tri should triumph atop the Hex table, even though the majority expected at least a point on Friday.

[ MORE: Asking questions on Bradley, Klinsmann, RB ]

But what did we learn about Mexico from Friday, aside from Eric Scatamacchia’s player ratings?

It all goes through Guardado — If Andres Guardado can’t go against Panama, look for Juan Carlos Osorio to opt for a completely different game plan.

Why? Because as much as we want to herald the United States midfield for their distinct change in play after moving from a 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 on Friday, that same move happened right after Mexico’s best player left the game with injury.

Guardado is one of the more complete attack-minded players in the world, and if Atlanta United is really prepared to land him then may Don Garber have mercy on Major League Soccer.

The softness has hardened a bit under Osorio — Mexico still looked prepared to melt down after the USMNT equalized, and perhaps they would’ve had the Yanks punished them (I’m looking at you, Michael Bradley inexplicably not playing Bobby Wood in alone on Alfredo Talavera).

But there wasn’t a quit in the team, something we’ve seen often. Perhaps it was the rivalry, but the vicious nature stuck around in Mexico. They fouled because they needed to, and did a lot of the things we haven’t seen during their weak spells.

[ USMNT-MEXICO: Recap | Ratings | 3 things ]

This could be a turning point for them, and you might as well print their tickets for Russia if Mexico can grab all six points from trips to the USMNT and Panama.

Goalkeeping still a question mark Talavera had one strong stop on a vicious turn-and-rip from Bobby Wood, but was dicey in collecting the ball (even given the cold night for Mexico).

Osorio has opted for plenty of rotation between the sticks, and I’m often left scratching my head whenever it’s not Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa between the sticks. The 31-year-old has gone 90 minutes in each of Granada’s La Liga matches, and mostly held Barcelona in a 1-0 loss (He also allowed 7 to Atleti and 5 to Las Palmas, but you get the idea).

Who do Mexico fans think should be No. 1?

ProSoccerTalk’s Top 50 winter transfer targets: #50 – 26

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With the January transfer window now open and in full swing, we take a look at the top targets that could potentially move in the transfer window.

This list is a rough ranking of top players that we are watching the most, and have made noise in reports recently. The rankings are determined by skill, star power, potential impact for a new team, and chance to move in the window.

So who could be on the move? Let’s find out! And stay tuned for numbers 25-1 coming up.

TOP 50 WINTER TRANSFER TARGETS: #50-26

50. Dani Alves (RB)
Current club:
Barcelona            Potential price: Free

49. Fabian Frei (CM)
Current club:
Basel                    Potential price: $6 million
Signed through 2017 at Basel, but he impressed in Champions League matches against Liverpool and he himself claimed LFC may be interested, even though he also said he is “skeptical” of winter transfers in general.

48. Marko Vejinovic (CM)
Current club:
Vitesse Arnhem  Potential price: $8 million

47. Fabian Delph (CM)
Current club:
Aston Villa           Potential price: $4.5 million

46. Peter Crouch (ST)
Current club:
Stoke City            Potential price: $2 million
West Brom and former Crouch boss Tony Pulis wants to sign his favorite long-ball target, but it seems odd as to why Crouch would accept a lateral move (at best) when he’s got a good thing going at Stoke. Unless West Brom pony up the cash, it seems this one is just for the papers. And would management want to pay for a 33-year-old? Crouch is out of contract at the end of the season, but in talks for a new one.

45. Cheick Tiote (DCM)
Current club:
Newcastle            Potential price: $17 million

44. Danny Ings (ST)
Current club:
Burnley                Potential price: $7 million

43. Virgil van Djik (CB)
Current club:
Celtic                     Potential price: $12 million

42. Jozy Altidore (ST)
Current club:
Sunderland           Potential price: $3 million
It’s been U-G-L-Y for Jozy in the Premier League, and it seems like that could come to a merciful end this month. He could benefit from Liverpool’s striker emergency, with Altidore rumored to be a replacement for Divock Origi at Lille if the Belgian youngster does end his loan and come back to LFC. He sure isn’t playing at Sunderland, so a move would be a positive for him, especially out of England.

41. Andrej Kramaric (ST)
Current club:
Dinamo Zagreb     Potential price: $14 million

40. Jay Rodriguez (LW)
Current club:
Southampton         Potential price: $22 million

39. Jermain Defoe (ST)
Current club: Toronto FC         Potential price:
$7 million
Defoe has flown out to London, and while it’s been a complete mystery who’s interested and who’s not, Defoe is very likely to leave MLS for a return to England. He could price a few teams out with wage demands, but he will likely move. Another sticking point for some teams could be loan vs transfer. Toronto wants to sell, while few teams are interested in anything more than a loan this window.

38. Seamus Coleman (RB)
Current club:
Everton                    Potential price: $15 million

37. Mauro Icardi (ST)
Current club:
Inter Milan                     Potential price: $30 million

36. Marek Hamsik (CM)
Current club:
Napoli                         Potential price: $30 million
Hamsik has seriously regressed from his near-world-class form two years ago (82% passing this season, yuck), but he remains a quality chance creator who may just need a change of scenery. However, with news that Hamsik is “happy” at Napoli, it’s unlikely he moves in January. Can Rafa Benitez get Hamsik back to his best, or will he have to leave to attain a return to form?

35. Bruno Martins Indi (CB)
Current club:
Porto                         Potential price: $10 million

34. Mesut Ozil (CAM)
Current club:
Arsenal                      Potential price: $48 million

33. Fabio Coentrao (LB)
Current club:
Real Madrid              Potential price: $22 million

32. Kevin Mirallas (RW)
Current club:
Everton                      Potential price: $17 million
With Everton mightily, could Kevin Mirallas become an all-time traitor and move across town to Liverpool? Reports at the beginning of December said Liverpool made contact with the lightning rod’s agent, but things have gone quiet since. Roberto Martinez also vehemently denied any potential sale, but we all saw how that worked out for Wenger and Podolski…

31. Winston Reid (CB)
Current club:
West Ham                  Potential price: $7 million
The New Zealand captain is a favorite to sign for Arsenal, and while Reid is one of the main reasons why West Ham is near the top of the table, Sam Allardyce has reportedly said he wants to be rid of the 26-year-old. He’s out of contract at the end of the year, and Allardyce did say he’s rejected a lucrative new deal.

30. Christoph Kramer (CB)
Current club:
Borussia Monchengladbach       Potential price: $14 million

29. Guillermo Ochoa (GK)
Current club:
Malaga                         Potential price: $4.5 million

28. Karim Benzema (ST)
Current club:
Real Madrid                Potential price: $45 million
Karim’s in the rumor mill every year, so he has to get a mention, but he’s nice and low on the list because – while he’s supremely talented and would be a program talisman if signed – he’s not going anywhere.

27. Saido Berahino (ST)
Current club:
West Brom                   Potential price: $30 million

26. Thiago Motta (DCM)
Current club:
PSG                                Potential price: $10 million
With his agent claiming he could leave if unwanted, reports that the Brazilian is unhappy with management have been set alight. Although, the 32-year-old’s agent also claimed “he’s not just another old player” soooo……(spoiler alert, he won’t be the only PSG player on this list when it’s all revealed).