MLS NEXT Cup: Chicago Fire U-15, LA Galaxy U-17 win titles

24-Next-Cup-Highlight - champions

The 2023-24 MLS NEXT season concluded Sunday at Nashville SC’s GEODIS Park, with four teams crowned champions at the 2024 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

Across their respective age groups, the winners are:

  • Under-15: Chicago Fire FC
  • Under-16: FC DELCO
  • Under-17: LA Galaxy
  • Under-19: Strikers FC

After winning the Generation adidas Cup Premier Bracket earlier this year, Chicago Fire FC defeated the LA Galaxy by a 3-1 score to become U-15 MLS NEXT Cup champions.

Aaron Medina’s 11th-minute goal put the Galaxy up 1-0, then the Fire tallied three without a reply. Defender James Fields equalized in the 25th minute with a penalty kick. Midfielder Christopher Morales doubled the lead after the break and Darris Hyte scored the third goal off an assist from Robert Turdean.

Chicago are now the only club to lift an MLS NEXT Cup in two different age groups after their U-19s won in 2021.

U-15 MLS NEXT Cup: Individual awards

  • Top Scorer: Jared Cardenas (FC Cincinnati)
  • Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Alex Ivanov (Chicago Fire FC)
  • MVP presented by adidas: Darris Hyte (Chicago Fire FC)

FC Delco’s dream turned into reality, as the Pennsylvania club defeated Real Colorado by a 3-0 score to win the U-16 title.

Remy Tshibangu grabbed the game’s first goal, slotting home a rebound to put his side up by a goal before halftime. Seamus Lannon scored for the second straight game, heading home to make it 2-0.

Michael Capretto’s brilliant solo goal then capped things off. Receiving the ball near the right-side touchline, Capretto hesitated off the dribble, beat his defender and lashed home a stunner. The forward finished the week with eight goals.

U-16 MLS NEXT Cup: Individual awards

  • Top Scorer: Michael Capretto (FC DELCO)
  • Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Grant Kiefner (FC DELCO)
  • MVP presented by adidas: Michael Capretto (FC DELCO)

Sunday’s final match was delayed due to inclement weather. For the LA Galaxy U-17s, it was well worth the wait.

Head coach Shaun Tsakiris' side emerged as back-to-back MLS NEXT Cup champions, dispatching Charlotte FC with a 4-1 win. They're now the second club in MLS NEXT history to win consecutive MLS NEXT Cup titles in the same age group (New England Revolution U-19s, 2022-23).

Ruben Ramos Jr. netted a hat trick, reaching eight tournament goals in less than 350 minutes played. Center back Jose ‘Pepe’ Magaña also scored for the Galaxy, while Rocket Ritarita pulled one back for Charlotte.

U-17 MLS NEXT Cup: Individual awards

  • Top Scorer: Ruben Ramos Jr. (LA Galaxy)
  • Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Owen Pratt (LA Galaxy)
  • MVP presented by adidas: Jose ‘Pepe’ Magaña (LA Galaxy)

The U-19 final brought the dramatics – Strikers FC survived a stoppage-time equalizer to win 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw with Cedar Stars Academy-Bergen.

The two sides traded first-half goals, as Strikers' Taj Eagleston opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Frankie De Francesco answered back for Cedar Stars less than 20 minutes later.

It was honors even until the game’s final 10 minutes, when Eagleston put Strikers ahead in the 83rd minute. Then deep into stoppage time, Ransford Gyan intervened for Cedar Stars. After dancing past a defender, Gyan's shot hit the crossbar and Colin O’Brien slotted home the tying goal.

Neither side could break the deadlock in overtime, setting the stage for penalties. Strikers FC were clinical, converting all four attempts as Kaden Gust made two saves.

U-19 MLS NEXT Cup: Individual awards

  • Top Scorer: Ransford Gyan (Cedar Stars Academy Bergen)
  • Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Kaden Gust (Strikers FC)
  • MVP presented by adidas: Taj Eagleston (Strikers FC)