Christian Bolanos vs. TFC

Two MLS players highlighted the CONCACAF Male Best XI announced on Wednesday as part of the annual CONCACAF awards.

New York City FC left back Ronald Matarrita and Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Christian Bolanos, both of Costa Rica, were recognized by the awards voters as the top players in their positions from throughout North America.

The Male Best XI was dominated by Mexicans and Costa Ricans, with US internationals finding themselves shut out of the annual honors after a rough end to 2016, despite the USMNT's run to the semifinals of the Copa América Centenario. Canada's Atiba Hutchinson, currently with Besiktas, was named in the midfield, alongside Bolanos and rumored MLS target Andres Guardado.

Costa Rican players also captured the Male Player of the Year and Male Goalkeeper of the Year awards, with Bryan Ruiz (Sporting CP) and Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) taking home those respective awards.

The full male Best XI is as follows:

  • Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica; Real Madrid)
  • Defenders: Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica; NYCFC), Wes Morgan (Jamaica; Leicester City), Rafael Marquez (Mexico; Atlas), Miguel Layun (Mexico; Porto)
  • Midfielders: Christian Bolaños (Costa Rica; Vancouver Whitecaps), Atiba Hutchinson (Canada; Besiktas), Andres Guardado (Mexico; PSV Eindhoven), Hirving Lozano (Mexico; Pachuca)
  • Forwards: Andre-Pierre Gignac (France; Tigres UANL), Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica; Sporting CP)

While the US was shut out on the men’s side, the women’s national team earned plenty of CONCACAF honors. Forward Alex Morgan won Female Player of the Year, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was named Female Goalkeeper of the Year and four other USWNT players – defenders Ali Krieger and Becky Sauerbrunn and midfielders Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath – earned spots on the Best XI.

Additionally, three Canadian women – defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence and forward Christine Sinclair – were named to the CONCACAF Female Best XI, while the CWNT and head coach John Herdman were honored with the Outstanding Performance Award after capturing the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The Professional Referee Organization also picked up some recognition in the awards, as Canadian assistant referee and PRO official Joe Fletcher finished second to Mexican official Cesar Arturo Ramos in the CONCACAF Male Referee of the Year voting.

The full list of award winners can be found here. Winners were determined by an equally-weighted vote among CONCACAF men’s and women’s national team coaches and captains, media and fans.