The 2022 MLS NEXT Cup came to a close as the Under-17 and Under-19 champions were crowned in Frisco, Texas on Sunday.
New England Revolution 1, San Francisco Glens 0
Jack Panayotou's sixth goal in Frisco carried the New England Revolution to the U-19 MLS NEXT Cup title over San Francisco Glens.
While the Revs' campaign has centered around the 18-year-old midfielder, it was Triton Beauvois who should have had New England on the scoreboard in the opening minutes. The pair combined for the game's only goal in the sixth minute with Beauvois working down the left wing before neatly cutting back to Panayotou for the finish from 12 yards.
Kevin Rodriguez Andrade, the tournament MVP, attempted the immediate response on behalf of the Glens with a stinging shot from the edge of the area that Revolution goalkeeper Max Weinstein could only put out for a corner.
New England had the ball in the back of the net twice more in the first half. Isaie Louis finished off a Steban Betancur header into the box, then a beautiful defense-splitting pass by Betancur to Beauvois to take around the 'keeper and slot it in. In both cases, the scorer was flagged offside.
San Francisco identified their best chances as set pieces to the tall center-back pairing of Matthew Duggan and Barry Cahalane. The pair came close on a few occasions, keeping Weinstein busy in the Revolution goal as he closed out the historic win for his club.
U19 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Golden Boot: Jack Panayotou, New England Revolution
- Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Max Weinstein, New England Revolution
- Golden Ball: Kevin Rodriguez Andrade, San Francisco Glens
Philadelphia Union 3, Columbus Crew 2
Columbus 'keeper Stas Lapkes' exploits in four penalty shootouts are clear, but both he and opposite number Andrew Rick pulled out a couple of spectacular saves in the first 10 minutes to maintain the deadlock.
The Union's attack early on looked like that of a team that scored 15 goals in the opening three games of the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs, cutting through the Crew defense with ease, but Lapkes held firm each time.
Against the run of play, Columbus took the lead in first-half stoppage time. Taha Habroune was brought down in the box and converted the penalty himself.
Just 35 seconds into the second period, the Crew doubled the lead as Owen Presthus caught the run of Joshua Bartels with a pinpoint pass to leave the 'keeper with no chance.
Philadelphia finally had Lapkes beat in the 50th minute, just not the woodwork, as Alex Perez slammed a free-kick off the crossbar. They did finally get on the board four minutes later as Marcos Zambrano-Delgado glanced a header inside the back post off a corner.
A deserved equalizer came off a dangerous cross from substitute Luciano Sanchez to the head of David Vazquez in the 67th minute. The impressive comeback got even better in the 73rd as Philadelphia took the lead for the first time with a low drive from the edge of the box by Zambrano-Delgado after receiving a pass from Sanchez. The brace took Zambrano-Delgado to seven goals, earning him the Golden Boot at the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs.
The drama carried up until the very end. Columbus found a second wind as the clock headed towards 90. Presthus believed he should have won a penalty after going down on shoulder-to-shoulder contact with a Philadelphia defender in the sixth minute of added time, but it was deemed fair and the Union held on to seal the U-17 MLS NEXT Cup title.
U17 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Golden Boot: Marcos Zambrano-Delgado, Philadelphia Union
- Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate: Stas Lapkes, Columbus Crew
- Golden Ball: Giorgio De Libera, Columbus Crew