2024 MLS NEXT Cup: Which teams advanced to the semifinals?


The 2024 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs have hit the semifinal stretch. After a weather-marred run that kicked off last Saturday, the four age groups have reached the final four.

The Under-15 through Under-19 semifinals take place on June 20 and 21. Here’s a look at which teams have reached that point.


After a strong showing at the Generation adidas Cup, FC Cincinnati have backed it up against domestic competition. The offense has flexed its muscle, scoring 10 goals in three games. Jared Cardenas has reprised his role as the spearhead, and Islam Imran tallied the winner in the quarterfinals against the Colorado Rapids.

Chicago Fire FC are waiting in the next round for FC Cincinnati. Chicago’s quality on both sides of the ball was underlined in a 5-4 penalty shootout win after a 0-0 draw against Orlando City SC in the previous round, shutting out one of the most potent attacks in MLS NEXT. US youth internationals James Field and Hugo Berg helped stifle the front line to progress.

The LA Galaxy won all three of their matches by identical 2-1 scorelines, showing the ability to win close clashes. That strong backline will have its hands full against Atlanta United. Attacking midfielder Ignacio Suarez-Couri helped snatch a 2-2 draw versus FC Dallas in the quarterfinals, and goalkeeper James Donaldson saved two penalties to help his side advance, 5-4, in PKs.


It’s an all-Pennsylvania clash on one side of the bracket. Pre-tournament favorites FC Delco will take on neighbors Philadelphia Union. The defensive work of center back Grant Gilmore and the attacking thrust of Michael Capretto and Seamus Lannon secured a 2-1 win against Baltimore Armour in the quarterfinals. The Union reached this point of the tournament via a 1-0 win against a 10-man Barca Residency Academy squad.

On the other side of the bracket, St. Louis CITY SC take on Real Colorado. After opening the tournament with a 4-1 win, St. Louis advanced to this point with back-to-back shootout victories. That includes a triumph over Inter Miami CF in the quarterfinals.

At this stage, Real Colorado know how to get results. A stout defensive effort against Beachside SC saw a late set-piece goal snatch a 1-0 win. After opening with a shootout victory against Boston Bolts, Real Colorado beat a very talented Strikers FC squad to make it this far.


2024 Generation adidas Cup champs Philadelphia Union are back in the semifinals of this competition. The Union navigated a tough path to make it this far, knocking out three MLS opponents. After securing shootout wins against Orlando City and Real Salt Lake, the Union edged Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-1, despite playing half the game with 10 men.

A rematch of this year’s Generation adidas Cup awaits in Friday’s semifinals, as the LA Galaxy secured their spot with a 2-0 defeat of Sporting Kansas City. Gabriel Arnold’s ability to control matches from his No. 6 role continues to have an outsized influence, while Ruben Ramos has scored four goals in three games.

It’s been an imperious run for the LAFC attack, who have scored 16 goals on their way to the quarterfinals. A deep and talented roster was rotated for the quarterfinal against Tampa Bay United, a 4-0 win. Nine players have scored goals, with Dempsey Resich and Adriano Samayoa leading the way with three each.

Charlotte FC are facing LAFC in the semifinals. It’s been a dramatic run to this point, including a wild 4-4 draw in the Round of 16 against Inter Miami; a shootout win advanced them to a match against a quality BW Gottschee team. Isaias Elizalde scored twice in the 3-0 quarterfinal win.


A new champion will be crowned in the Under-19 age group, where the story is Triangle United. In all three games, the North Carolina club have advanced via shootout. Two of the three have been on the heels of a 0-0 draw, including Wednesday’s 6-5 win over Weston FC in the quarterfinals.

SoCal powerhouse Strikers FC are up next for Triangle. After reaching the MLS NEXT Cup final in 2022, the team of ‘06 players is on the hunt to win the crown. Forward Devin Zachry provided the winning goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal defeat of Sockers FC.

William Altirs and Ransford Gyan have stepped up in a big way, leading Cedar Stars Academy-Bergen to a matchup against Breakers FC. The New Jersey outfit beat Capital City SC in the quarterfinals thanks to a Gyan brace.

NorCal squad Breakers FC round out the U-19 final four, reaching this point on the heels of a 3-1 win against Barca Residency Academy. Midfielder Ethan Martinez scored twice, and Neo Ruiz tallied in the quarterfinal.