CONCACAF Gold Cup Top 10 Goalscorers - Landon Donovan leads the way with 18 goals
Donovan stands alone after a fantastic career
USA forward Landon Donovan has scored more goals than any other player at the CONCACAF Gold Cup (Getty Images)
CONCACAF Gold Cup Top 10 Goalscorers
The top 10 goalscorer list at the CONCACAF Gold Cup features some of the best players to ever have played for the United States, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras. USA’s Landon Donovan tops the list with 18 goals scored across six CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments.
Compatriot Clint Dempsey is next with 13 goals in five tournaments including seven goals at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Mexico’s Luis Roberto Alves scored 12 goals including 11 goals at the 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Panama’s Blas Pérez next best with 11 goals across six tournaments.
Panama’s Luis Tejada and Mexico’s Andrés Guardado have each scored 10 goals. Four players have scored nine goals at the CONCACAF Gold Cup including El Salvador’s Rodolfo Zelaya, Costa Rica’s Walter Centeno, Honduras’ Carlos Pavón and United States’ Eric Wynalda.
1) Landon Donovan - United States - 18 Goals - 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011 & 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Landon Timothy Donovan is regarded as one of the greatest United States men's soccer players of all time, so it is fitting that he tops the list. His Gold Cup tally got started in 2002 when he scored in the 2-1 win against South Korea in the group stage.
Donovan was equal top scorer with Costa Rica’s Walter Centeno at the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring all four goals in a 5-0 win against Cuba in the quarter-finals. Three goals followed at the 2005 Gold Cup as USA lifted the title, he scored another four goals in 2007 including one in the 2-1 win against Mexico in the final as USA went back to back.
He missed out in the 2009 Gold Cup but was back in 2011 with one more goal in the final, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 4-2 defeat against Mexico. Donovan and the USA got their revenge in 2013, the then LA Galaxy striker with his best return of five goals and picking up the best player award.
He began his career at Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen but found playing time hard to come by, a loan move to San Jose Earthquakes followed before a permanent switch to LA Galaxy where he would be a regular scorer from 2005-2014. He scored 112 goals in 247 appearances before his career petered out at Bayern Munich, Everton, LA Galaxy and Club León.
Landon Donovan holds numerous individual records in Major League Soccer (MLS) including winning six MLS Cups and providing the league's all-time number of assists with 136. His impact was such that the Major League Soccer MVP Award was renamed the Landon Donovan MVP Award in his honour.
Donovan also holds a number of records for the United States national team including all-time leader in assists (58) and is tied with Clint Dempsey as all-time leading scorer with 57 goals. He is the second-most-capped player in USA history, his 157 caps falling seven short of Cobi Jones.
Donovan is the only United States player to reach the 50 goals and 50 assists mark. He won the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award four times and the Honda Player of the Year award seven times. Donovan was a major influence in the USA team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup where he received the Best Young Player Award.
2) Clint Dempsey - United States - 13 Goals - 2005, 2007, 2011, 2015 & 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Clint Dempsey appeared in five CONCACAF Gold Cups and amassed 13 goals. He started slow with one goal in the 2005 and 2007 tournaments, missed out in 2009 but returned in 2011 with three goals including strikes in the quarter-final and semi-final victories.
He missed out again in 2015, but had a tournament to remember in 2017 where he top scored with seven goals including a hat-trick in the 6-0 thrashing of Cuba in the quarter-finals. His last appearance in the Gold Cup came in 2017 where he scored once in the 2-0 semi-final win against Cuba as the USA went on to win the title.
The Texas native began his career at Furman Paladins but would make his name at New England Revolution which earned him a move to Fulham in the English Premier League in January 2007. A move to Tottenham Hotspur on 31 August 2012 for a fee of $9.6 million was a record signing for an American.
It didn’t work out but he scored 12 goals for Tottenham, taking his tally for Premier League clubs to 72 goals, the most by an American in a top-tier European league. He returned to the MLS with Seattle Sounders FC in 2013 where he played until retiring in 2018.
Dempsey earned 141 caps and scored 57 international goals, making him the USA’s fourth-most capped player and tied with Landon Donovan as the top all-time USA scorer with 57 goals. Dempsey helped the USA win three CONCACAF Gold and he scored in each of the three FIFA World Cups he appeared in.
3) Luis Roberto Alves “Zague”- Mexico - 12 Goals - 1991 & 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Luis Roberto Alves was also known as Zague, a reference to his Brazilian father José Alves "Zague" who was a lethal striker for Corinthians and Club América. He was part of the Mexico side that finished third at the very first CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991 but would come back with a bang as Mexico won their first title.
He scored 11 goals at the 1993 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was the tournament top scorer with 11 goals, a record which still stands. He started off with an incredible seven goals in the opening match that ended in a 9-0 dismantling of Martinique.
Zague added two more in the 8-0 thrashing of Canada in the group stage, another in the 6-1 semi-final win against Costa Rica and his 11th goal of the tournament in the 4-0 win against USA in the final. It was fitting that he would score at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City where he was born in 1967.
Zague spent his entire career playing for Mexican clubs including Club América, Atlante and Necaxa. He was a physically strong and fast striker who is the 6th highest goalscorer in Mexico history with 30 goals in 84 caps. He is the 7th highest goalscorer in the Primera División de México with 209 goals.
4) Blas Pérez - Panama - 11 Goals - 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 & 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Blas Antonio Pérez Ortega amassed 11 goals for Panama across six consecutive Gold Cups from 2005-2015. He scored three goals in 2005 including strikes in the quarter-final and semi-final wins but missed his spot kick in the penalty shootout as Panama were defeated by USA in the final at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.
He failed to score in 2007 but registered another three in 2009 including the opening goal against USA in the quarter-finals. It wasn’t enough as the United States equalised and won 2-1 in extra time. Pérez scored another goal in 2011 as Panama were knocked out in the semi-finals by USA.
The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup was another productive tournament for the Panama City native, his three goals coming in the quarter-final and semi-final wins before another defeat against USA in the final, this time 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Blas Pérez played in his final Gold Cup in 2015 where he scored his only goal of the tournament in a 1-1 draw against USA that ensured a spot in the quarter-finals. Panama suffered a cruel exit in the semi-finals, conceding a 90+10' penalty and another penalty in extra time as they went out 2-0 against Mexico at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Pérez was a typical journeyman striker, starting his career at Panamá Viejo before spells at Árabe Unido, Nacional, Envigado, Centauros, Deportivo Cali, Cúcuta Deportivo Hércules, UANL, Pachuca, Al Wasl, San Luis, León, Indios, FC Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Blooming and Municipal before ending his career in his third spell at Árabe Unido.
Pérez retired from playing professional football on 25 November 2018 after plying his trade in nine different countries. He earned a total of 116 caps and scored 43 goals, Panama's third all-time record cap and second all-time leading goalscorer.
His first goal for Panama came on 24 April 2001 in a friendly against Haiti at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City, his final goal scored 10 October 2017 against Costa Rica in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama Cit, a fitting end to a great career.
5) Luis Tejada - Panama - 10 Goals - 2005, 2009, 2011, & 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Panama’s second player on the top 10 goalscorer list at the CONCACAF Gold Cup is Luis Carlos "Matador" Tejada Hansell. Tejada scored 10 goals in four tournaments including three in the 2005 group stage before missing Panama’s first spot kick in the penalty shootout defeat against USA in the final. Despite that he was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
He was back in 2009 with two goals and scored three in 2011 including a vital 90th minute equaliser against El Salvador in the quarter-finals and the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout that sent Panama to the semi-finals where they were defeated 1-0 by the USA.
Tejada’s final CONCACAF Gold Cup came in 2015 where he scored twice including the opener against Trinidad and Tobago in the quarter-finals. Panama advanced in a penalty shootout before being eliminated by Mexico in the semi-finals in a match where Tejada receiving a red card.
Much like his countryman and teammate Blas Pérez, Tejada was a journeyman after beginning his career with Tauro and played in seven countries. The clubs he was signed to include Plaza Amador, Deportes Tolima, Envigado, Al Ain, Once Caldas, Real Salt Lake, América Cali, Millonarios, Juan Aurich, Toluca, Veracruz, Universidad César Vallejo, Juan Aurich, Universitario, Sport Boys and Molinos El Pirata.
Tejada made his debut for Panama in a June 2001 and earned 104 caps and scored 43 goals, making him Panama's all-time record goalscorer just ahead of Blas Pérez. In March 2005 Tejada scored an overhead kick goal against Mexico in a World Cup 2006 qualifying match that was voted best goal of the year by Fox Sports.
He was named in Panama's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, coming off the bench on two occasions as Los Canaleros were eliminated in the group stage after losing every match.
José Andrés Guardado Hernández, known as Principito or ‘Little Prince’, has scored 10 CONCACAF Gold Cup goals in three tournaments. His first came in 2007, opening the scoring against United States in the final at Soldier Field in Chicago where Mexico would go on to lose 2-1.
He missed out in 2009 but was back in 2011 with three goals. Guardado scored two goals in the 4-1 win against Costa Rica in the group stage before another goal in a CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. It would count this time, his goal getting Mexico back into the game at 2-2 before they went on to win 4-2 at Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
2013 was another missed opportunity but he returned in 2015 with six goals as Mexico were crowned champions and Guardado won the best player award. He scored in the 6-0 win against Cuba and in the 4-4 draw against Trinidad & Tobago in the group stage.
Guardado was just getting started however, scoring a late extra time winner as Mexico beat Costa Rica 1-0 in the quarter-final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Mexico looked down and out against Panama in the semi-final match at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, but he kept his cool to score an equalising penalty in 90+10' and scored another spot kick in the 105+1' minute to secure victory.
It had to be Guardado in the final against Jamaica at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, scoring his sixth goal of the tournament in a 3-1 win as Mexico lifted the trophy. He has been selected in Mexico’s 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup squad and it wouldn’t surprise if he added more goals to his tally.
Principito began his club career at Atlas before moving to Spain with Deportivo La Coruna. In 2012 he joined La Liga rivals Valencia and then moved to the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven where he won two Eredivisie titles. He returned to La Liga in 2017, signing a three-year deal with Sevilla club Real Betis.
Guardado made his Mexico debut in 2005 and to date has earned 154 caps and scored 26 goals. He has represented Mexico in four World Cups, three Gold Cups, two Copa América’s and two FIFA Confederations Cups.
Guardado started his career as a winger, appeared as left-back at Valencia before converting to a central midfielder at PSV. He has all the skills including passing, dribbling, free kicks, hold up play, powerful shot and defensive work-rate which makes him an extremely valuable player.
7) Rodolfo Zelaya - El Salvador - 9 Goals - 2011, 2013 & 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Rodolfo Antonio Zelaya García is the only player from El Salvador on the top 10 goalscorer list. Nicknamed “El Matador” he scored nine goals in three tournaments beginning in 2011.
His first goal came in a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica before a brace against Cuba helped El Salvador win 6-1 and advance to the quarter-finals. Zelaya scored this fourth goal of the tournament against Panama, but his 78th minute opener was cancelled out late on as El Salvador were eliminated in a penalty shootout.
Zelaya was at it again at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with another four goals. He scored twice in the opening 2-2 draw against Trinidad and Tobago and scored the winning goal against Haiti in a 1-0 victory that ensured progression to the quarter-finals.
That’s where El Salvador’s tournament would end once again, his fourth goal nowhere near enough as they were defeated 5-1 by the United States. Zelaya missed out in 2015 but came back in 2017 and scored in the 2-0 win against Curaçao in the group stage. He couldn’t help his nation in the quarter-finals as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against USA.
Zelaya started his club career at San Rafael in 2004 before moving to Intipucá, Chalatenango, Alianza and León. He returned to Alianza in 2010 where he would score over 100 goals. He had loan spells in the Russian Premier League with Alania Vladikavkaz before moving to MLS with Los Angeles FC in January 2019.
He earned 45 caps for El Salvador and scored 21 goals, his last coming on 13 July 2017 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, United States in a 2-0 win against Curaçao at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
8) Walter Centeno - Costa Rica - 9 Goals - 2002, 2003, 2007 & 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Wálter Centeno Corea was a legend for Costa Rica who scored nine goals across four CONCACAF Gold Cups. He scored the opening goal against Haiti in the 2002 quarter-finals in a 2-1 win and helped his nation to a 3-1 win against South Korea in the semi-finals.
He came off the bench at half time against USA in the final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena but was unable to prevent a 2-0 defeat. Costa Rica returned in 2003 where Centeno scored four goals to share the top scorer award with USA’s Landon Donovan.
His first goal came in the 3-0 group stage win against Cuba before a hat-trick in the 2-0 quarter-final victory against El Salvador. Centeno played the full 90 minutes against Mexico as Costa Rica were eliminated in a 2-0 defeat.
His next appearance was at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup where he scored three goals in the group stage. His goal in the opening game wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat against Canada, but he scored the opener in a 1-1 draw against Haiti and scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win against Guadeloupe.
Centeno didn’t feature in the 1-0 extra time defeat against Mexico in the quarter-final clash at Reliant Stadium in Houston where Costa Rica saw three players receive red cards. His last Gold Cup campaign came in 2009 where he scored his final and ninth goal in a 2-2 draw against Canada.
Walter Centeno started his club career at Saprissa before a short spell at AEK Athens where he scored in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico. He returned to Saprissa after one season in Greece where he would spend the next 11 years before retiring at Puerto Rican club Bayamón.
Centeno appeared in over 400 matches for Saprissa, winning 10 Primera División de Costa Rica titles and the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. He began his managerial career at Puntarenas before moving to Municipal Grecia, it was no surprise when he returned to Saprissa as manager in February 2019.
Walter Centeno earned 137 caps for Costa Rica which is a record that still stands, scoring 24 goals in an impressive career. He was a compete midfielder with an eye for goal and participated at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
9) Carlos Pavón - Honduras - 9 Goals - 1998, 2000 & 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Carlos Alberto Pavón Plummer is the only Honduras player on the top 10 goalscorer list after scoring nine goals in three CONCACAF Gold Cups. He scored one goal in the 1998 group stage defeat against Trinidad & Tobago as Honduras went home early.
Pavón and Honduras were more successful at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He scored the opening goals in consecutive 2-0 wins against Jamaica and Colombia to earn a quarter-final clash against Peru. Pavón scored his third goal of the tournament but it wasn’t enough, Honduras eliminated after a 5-3 defeat at the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Honduras failed to qualify in 2002 and he wasn’t selected in 2003 or 2005. He returned to the Honduras side for the 2007 Gold Cup where he added another five goals to his tally to claim the top scorer award.
Pavón scored four goals in the 5-0 demolition of Cuba in the final group stage match, on target against Guadeloupe in the quarter-finals but unable to prevent a 2-1 defeat.
Pavón made his debut for Honduras in 1993 earned 101 caps, scoring 57 goals to be Honduras' top all-time national team goalscorer. He was voted the world's most popular football player by IFFHS in 2009 and played in one FIFA World Cup match in 2010.
He began his career in Honduras with Real España on 30 May 1992 and would go on to play in seven countries with spells at, Toluca, San Luis, Valladolid, Correcaminos, Necaxa, Celaya, Morelia, Serie A clubs Udinese and Napoli, Morelia, Deportivo Cali, Cruz Azul, Comunicaciones and Los Angeles Galaxy before ending his career back at Real España.
10) Eric Wynalda - United States - 9 Goals - 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998 & 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Eric Boswell Wynalda appeared for the United States in the first five CONCACAF Gold Cups where he scored nine goals. His first goal came in the 3-0 group stage win against Guatemala as the USA went on to win the tournament after a penalty shootout victory against Honduras in the final.
In the 1993 Gold Cup, Wynalda scored in the 1-0 win against Jamaica and 2-1 win against Panama as the USA reached the final against Mexico. Down 2-0 in the first half at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Wynalda was sent off in the 44th minute in front of 130,800 spectators as Mexico went on to win 4-0.
Wynalda had his most prolific tournament in 1996, scoring four goals including two in the 3-2 win against Trinidad & Tobago and one in the 2-0 win against El Salvador. He played the full 90 minutes against Brazil in the semi-final as the USA lost 1-0 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. His final goal came in the 3-0 win against Guatemala in the Third place match.
Eric Wynalda scored once in 1998 in the 1-0 win against Cuba as USA lost against Mexico in the final. He was on target once again in the 3-0 win against Haiti in 2000 before a penalty shootout exit against Colombia in the quarter-finals.
He started his career at college team San Diego State Aztecs before his senior club career saw spells at San Diego Nomads, San Francisco Bay , 1. FC Saarbrücken, VfL Bochum, San Jose Clash, , Miami Fusion, New England Revolution, Chicago Fire, Charleston Battery and Bakersfield Brigade.
Wynalda earned his first international cap in 1990 and appeared at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy where he was sent off against Czechoslovakia. He scored against Switzerland at the 1994 World Cup and appeared in his third World Cup in 1998.
He retired from USA in 2000 after amassing 106 appearances and 34 goals. He turned his hand to management with San Diego Flash, Cal FC, Atlanta Silverbacks, L.A. Wolves and Las Vegas Lights. He has also been a broadcaster for ESPN, ABC, Fox Soccer Channel, Yahoo! Sports and hosted a radio program called ‘WTF: Wynalda Talks Football’ on SiriusXM FC 85.