22 Under 22

Best XI: Who are 22 Under 22's top players in 2023?

23MLS-22u22_Best XI

The 2023 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list is out and the debates are raging. Who missed out? Who should be higher or lower?

We're adding to the discourse with a Best XI from players who made the cut. The below group's arranged in a 3-4-3 formation.

SOC23-163920-261 - 22u22 Starting XI_EN (1)

Longtime MLS fans might be surprised to learn Cowell's only 19 years old; he's been part of the Earthquakes' attack since the 2020 season and supplied 10g/15a in 103 matches. On the international scene, Cowell was a standout player at the U-20 World Cup and already has eight senior US caps. The upside's there.

There weren't many true No. 9s in serious contention for 22 Under 22 this season, and Magno's been up and down in that role. But NYCFC's Brazilian star has too much quality to leave off, and his versatility introduces some fluidity to the front line.

This year's 22 Under 22 winner! Whether it's as a winger or a No. 10 who finds the game, Velasco brings constant danger in the final third – often linking up with Jesús Ferreira (last year's 22 Under 22 winner). A club-record signing for FC Dallas, he earned an Argentina call-up for their World Cup qualifiers in September.

Gutiérrez, alongside Xherdan Shaqiri, has taken the playmaking reins for the Fire. When you realize it's a 20-year-old with that responsibility, it puts into context how much the homegrown star has progressed these past two seasons.

Morris may ultimately fall short of the 2023 MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire, but he's not far off from that level. The Crew's homegrown star has leveled up massively while playing under head coach Wilfried Nancy, maturing into a fantastic two-way midfielder.

Cremaschi is eligible for both the US (who he's already earned a senior cap for) and Argentina (where he has family roots). That will sort itself out in due course, but for now he's developing rapidly at Inter Miami alongside Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. What an experience for the 18-year-old.

There's a tug-of-war unfolding in real time over Buck's international future. He's with England's U-19s for now, but the US will look to incorporate him for the 2026 cycle/beyond. Box-to-box midfield prospects like this don't come around every day.

When we connected with MLS technical staffers for this anonymous story, Wiley’s name repeatedly came up when asked about the league’s most impressive homegrown prospect. Atlanta United’s teenaged star has the profile of a modern-day, attack-minded fullback – and European clubs have taken notice. With Wiley getting the nod, John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls) narrowly missed out.

We’ll give the mic to MLS 360’s Sacha Kljestan, who offered this about Neal: “His vision, reading and passing from the back can be world-class. I can see him playing for a very big European club one day.” The Galaxy’s homegrown center back seems like the real deal.

An attack-minded right back and rising Colombian international, Mosquera is hoping to help his country return to the World Cup in 2026. Though there’s no guarantee Mosquera will still be playing for Portland if that dream comes true; European clubs are regularly linked to the Timbers’ U22 Initiative signing.

Yes, he’s the only goalkeeper who made this year’s 22 Under 22 list. But anyone who’s watched Brady knows he’s the real deal and more than followed in the footsteps of fellow Chicago homegrown and US elite goalkeeping prospect Gaga Slonina before his big-money move to Chelsea FC last winter.


  • John Tolkin - D, New York Red Bulls
  • Jack McGlynn - M, Philadelphia Union
  • Diego Luna - M, Real Salt Lake
  • Facundo Farías - F, Inter Miami CF