CONCACAF Player of the World Cup: Keylor Navas

The Tico backstop followed up an excellent season at Levante with a tremendous showing on the world's largest stage.
CONCACAF Player of the World Cup
Keylor Navas
AGE 27
POSITION Goalkeeper
Costa Rica

After a strong season at Levante, Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas was pegged by plenty of publications as the Ticos' key man. If they were going to survive a group with three former World Cup winners, he's going to have to be good, went the logic. He was, and they did.

That it was a shootout which finally saw Jorge Luis Pinto's men eliminated is one of the tournament's cruelties. The best goalkeeper of the tournament headed home after his teammates were vexed by apparent shootout specialist Tim Krul in a quarterfinal loss to the Netherlands. But only one team goes home with the trophy, and Navas has no reason to hang his head.

He made 21 stops and allowed just two goals and already had guided Costa Rica through one penalty shootout. While other teams succumbed to keepers making positional errors, the Ticos were able to rely on Navas. His prowess was on display in forcing the Netherlands to extra time, but perhaps his most impressive match was the round of 16 win against Greece. Oscar Duarte's sending off forced the Ticos to defend with 10 men for nearly 30 minutes, then 30 more of extra time.

For keying Costa Rica's impressive run to the quarterfinals - and nearly taking the team further - Keylor Navas is Goal's CONCACAF Player of the World Cup.

Congratulations to Keylor Navas, Goal's CONCACAF Player of the World Cup!

  The Shortlist

Tim Howard - United States

The United States goalkeeper was sensational in his record-setting showing in the Americans' loss to Belgium which knocked the team out of the World Cup - but his performances in the group stage weren't bad either. It's unlikely the 35-year-old will be the No. 1 in 2018, but he showed that he's still plenty capable between the sticks. In fact, it's feasible he finishes the World Cup as the keeper with the most saves.

Guillermo Ochoa - Mexico

Navas and Howard weren't the only shot stoppers to inspire a nation - and countless memes. In fact, it was Ochoa's showing against Brazil that started the trend of CONCACAF keepers stunning power teams when he stonewalled Neymar and Co. in a scoreless draw. He was again Man of the Match against Netherlands, though he couldn't stop the dubious penalty that knocked El Tri out.

Hector Herrera - Mexico

In truth, the Porto midfielder was likely already on the radar of Europe's largest clubs, but the World Cup will do little to deter them from pursuing the 24-year-old. Not only was he instrumental in setting up a number of Mexican goals, he also defended with the type of guile rarely seen from a midfielder with such flair.

Giancarlo Gonzalez - Costa Rica

Navas was superb this tournament, but he owes a nod to his defense as well. Gonzalez was the anchor, playing centrally in the three-man back of a unit which closed the tournament with an impressive number of tackles and clearances. Gonzalez's blocks also helped his goalkeeper on a number of occasions.