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Baer: Breaking down the top five players at GA Cup

The 2017 Generation adidas Cup concluded on Saturday night, with Argentinian giants River Plate winning the Champions Division and New York City FC taking the Premier Division. There were many standout performances during the tournament, but a few MLS players stood above the rest. Here are the top five.

 

Efrain Alvarez, LA Galaxy

Alvarez was one of the youngest players at the GA Cup at just 14 years old, but there’s little doubt regarding his abilities. The left-footed playmaker was mostly deployed on the right wing, and he was a terror for all opposing defenders. He was able to find teammates with chipped balls over the top of the defense, dropping them on a dime. He also beat any defender that was left alone on an island against him.

Chad Letts, Philadelphia Union

The Union made a run to the semifinals of the Premier Division behind some sterling performances from Letts, Brendan Aaronson, and Seth Kuhn. Letts, though, is the one to highlight here. The Jamaican U-17 international proved a force up top for the Union, using his strength to hold off the opposition while also showing some skill, including a Rivelino to set up a Union goal vs. Chicago.

Ben Mines, New York Red Bulls

Mines has already played for the New York Red Bulls II in USL, making four appearances for the club during the 2016 season. It shouldn’t be long before he signs a professional contract. The speedy forward won the Golden Boot in the Champions Division, leading the Red Bulls to a third-place finish in the tournament’s top division. He was one of the fastest players at the tournament, if not the fastest, and that speed caused constant problems for opposing backlines.

He was also able to show his skill, scoring a free kick against Club Tijuana. He scored the equalizer against Flamengo in the semifinals after running down a clearance and rounding the 'keeper. He also did the same against Independiente del Valle in the third-place match off of a set piece.

Brayan Padilla, FC Dallas

The 17-year-old was one of the oldest MLS players playing in the tournament, even older than two FC Dallas Homegrown signees (Jesus Ferreira, Bryan Reynolds), but it’s clear that his potential is high. The left winger’s strength and speed gave him an advantage over all of his opponents. He also displayed his finishing ability when he scored against Real Madrid and added two more against the LA Galaxy.

Giovanni Reyna, New York City FC

Reyna was one of the youngest players participating, but that didn’t stop him from winning the Golden Ball in the Premier Division and and leading NYCFC to the title. You can read more about him here.

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