Monday, February 11, 2013

Castrol Top 11 World Cup Players: USA

McBride's iconic bloody nose
Based upon US World Cup performances since 1990, Castrol selects their best-of starting XI.  However, this particular dream team displays a temporal bias as only Landon Donovan played as recently as the 2010 World Cup.

Concerned by this oversight, we set about testing whether thesoccerist could not pick a better team of American World Cup veterans.  In addition, we compare these lineups to the BleacherReports selection to quantify the comparison groups.  Presumably, Castrol's selection is based upon their Index, as is thesoccerist's while the BleacherReport does not.

The table of All Time Starting XI shows that thesoccerist's selection, with 6 players from the 2010 World Cup, scored 2 percent better than Castrol's and 15 percent better than the Bleacher Report's.

Younger fans may not have had a chance to see many of these players in action but few would dispute Landon Donovan's place on this team after his 2010 goals against Algeria and Slovenia or Friedel's tremendous saves.  Actually, 5 players consistently show up on all 3 teams including Caligiuri and his shot heard round the world; or Brian McBride's selfless play in the 2002 World Cup.

Interestingly, despite scoring 8.57 Castrol points, Michael Bradley does not make the Castrol or the BleacherReport teams and neither does Altidore.

Below are the lineups for each of the 3 selections - which assume a 4-4-2 and do not account for field position (a midfielder can play on the left or right).  In these pictures, it is starkly peculiar that Carlos Bocanegra (8.25 Castrol points) does not rate on the Castrol team, which lacks any defender greater than 8 points.

Clint Dempsey's (7.94 points) claim to lack respect, even in the US, is bolstered by BR's omission who included Cobi Jones (5.44 points) instead of him in their midfielder choices.

At forward, Jozy Altidore makes thesoccerist's team, tying McBride with a sterling 7.85 points while Wynalda scores a dismal 4.49 points to lead the BleacherReport team up front.

thesoccerist XI

BleacherReport XI

Castrol XI

The case can be made that indices do a poor job of quantifying the attributes of a soccer player, especially across several World Cup eras, but this exercise does raise some interesting questions.  For example, is Altidore today really that much superior to Wynalda in the 1990s?

Or, why does Michael Bradley get so little love considering his quantifiable excellence?

Who would you select for the all-time starting XI - can you pick a team with more total Castrol points?  Castrol does not rate players from the 1930 and 1950 squads but is there anyone for those teams that deserve a second glance?


  1. Cursory examination proves this is farce as Zidane isn't even tournament Best XI for 2006. Which tournament was Castrol rating here?

  2. LOL... Pele is not Best XI all time... 4 world cups. 14 games played. 3 WC trophies. 10 assists in WC Finals. 12 goals. but no Castrol Best XI