He's admittedly biased, but New York City FC defender Ronald Matarrita said he believes it's his home country of Costa Rica, not the United States or Mexico, that can lay claim to the title of the best team in Concacaf.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with hosts Mauricio Pedroza and Herculez Gomez on ESPN's Ahora o Nunca, Matarrita said he believes it's his Los Ticos that are the top side in the federation.
"In talking about distance [between teams], there isn’t much. I believe the level between countries in Concacaf has gotten smaller," Matarrita said. "But obviously because of the history, the success and the name the strongest teams continue to be Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica.
"Putting myself up there, putting Costa Rica up there, [the order] would be Costa Rica, Mexico, United States. Apart from that, I believe the games in Concacaf and the World Cup qualifiers are different. I believe everyone is competing at the same level, everyone wants to win, you have to leave everything on the field. It’s something that at the end of it all your name, your pedigree doesn’t matter. That doesn’t exist on the field, but if I had to say the order it’s: Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Honduras, Jamaica. They are teams that are always tough to beat, Panama also gets into the mix a lot, [they’re] a country that’s always tough to play away."
Matarrita was also asked to pick the best player in Concacaf from a shortlist of four and again showed his Tico leanings in picking countryman Keylor Navas. He cited the star goalkeeper's time at some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Real Madrid and now PSG as part of the reason for picking him over Canada's Alphonso Davies, the USMNT's Christian Pulisic and Mexico's Raul Jimenez.
He was also questioned earlier in show about the alleged negative perception of MLS in some corners of the Mexican media. Though he didn't talk much about the media, he did offer his viewpoint on the level of the two leagues.
"In terms of the level of play I believe that [Liga MX is a step ahead in] a little more success in their football, a little more history as well, you’ve already heard that Mexican soccer has kept a very, very good level," he said. "In MLS obviously there has been growth and it has been able to close the gap on Liga MX and at this moment I believe we are at a very similar level and you’ve already seen a lot of games in these last few years where MLS teams have imposed themselves on Mexican teams."
Altre notizie - Focus
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- 13:00 Plan set for MLS return to full team training with testing ahead of season restart
- 21:24 Sean Johnson on Hudson River Derby, players he most wants to beat
- 18:53 New York Governor Cuomo: "Encourage major sports to plan for reopening"
- 22:00 Why Jack Harrison saw NYCFC as his best bet to get back home to England
- 21:48 David Villa's MVP talent, everyman work ethic put NYCFC on the map
- 21:48 FC Cincinnati had contact with Dome Torrent for head coach, but no interview
- 15:00 Ronny Deila watching every 2019 match, learning Spanish during break
- 14:00 Ronald Matarrita: Costa Rica is the best team in Concacaf
- 19:00 NYCFC donates 100,000 meals to NY Common Pantry in coronavirus relief effort
- 18:27 NYCFC, An Update from Brad Sims
- 20:00 NYCFC helping with coronavirus impact close to home
- 19:39 NYCFC Meets with Ian Joy Powered by Cisco Webex | Ronny Deila
- 21:20 Major League Soccer Unveils 'MLS Unites'
- 20:56 Andrea Pirlo: "FC Barcelona is waiting for me"
- 10:05 Maxi Moralez: "We'll return to Bergamo"
- 18:17 NYCFC's Maxi Moralez, Valentin Castellanos and Jesus Medina follow stay-at-home orders together — literally
- 17:22 COVID-19: New Restrictions in NYC
- 16:36 Maxi trains with the family and also with Medina and Castellanos
- 23:36 NYCFC confirm first case of COVID-19 in club's sporting department
- 16:12 MLS extends season suspension in accordance with CDC guidance on COVID-19
- 14:16 Maxi Moralez is training with the family
- 22:00 Stop the MLS: let's try to explain the COVID-19
- 21:30 Johnson: "We had to make a result"
- 21:25 Concacaf suspends Champions League due to coronavirus
- 21:03 Deila: NYCFC abandon style against Tigres UANL in second half of CCL loss
- 19:47 Club Statement
- 16:55 MLS suspends 2020 season for 30 days in wake of coronavirus pandemic
- 13:00 New York City FC defeated by soccer law
- 12:00 NYCFC 0-1 Tigres UANL - Ronny Deila Press Conference
- 11:07 NYCFC 0-1 Tigres UANL - Match Recap
- 00:30 Efrain Juarez joins Deila and Mackay-Steven at New York City FC
- 00:01 Hoops hat-trick in New York