ga-cup-2022-best-xi

The 2022 edition of the Generation adidas Cup saw MLS academy sides capture both age groups, with the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders emerging victorious in the Under-15 and Under-17 competitions, respectively.

There were several impressive performances from an individual effort, as the collective teams battled it out in Frisco, Texas over the past week.

MLSsoccer.com named a Best XI of players from both age groups that helped their sides succeed at the tournament.

Goalkeeper

Wyatt Nelson, Seattle Sounders U-17

Another impressive shot-stopper looks to be coming through the ranks in Seattle. Nelson stepped up in the playoffs especially, making big stops in the championship game against Mexico's Tigres. In seven games, Seattle conceded just one goal, all the way back in the group stage. He was named the best GK for his age group.

Defenders

Luis Rivera, Real Salt Lake U-15

Defensively stout and composed on the ball, Rivera was one of the top defenders on display. He anchored an impressive RSL backline that produced a strong effort against a very good Valencia side, along with a good shift in the group stage. His distribution out of the back helped RSL set the tone in their games.

Stuart Hawkins, Seattle Sounders U-17

There were several strong performances at the back from Seattle, including Angel Martinez, Gabe Fernandez and Jayson Castillo. The aforementioned defensive record propelled the Sounders, and Hawkins played big minutes in central defense to earn the nod. Hawkins was named U-17 tournament MVP.

Israel Boatwright, Inter Miami U-17

One of the best MLS sides at Generation adidas Cup, Boatwright excelled at right back for Inter Miami. He started all but one game – the final group game against Roma, where he came off the bench – as Miami came up just short in the semifinals. Boatwright showed the makings of a modern, two-way fullback.

Midfielders

Emiliano Zamudio, Portland Timbers U-15

Portland’s defensive prowess in the knockout stages helped power them through to the Under-15 crown. Deployed in central midfield, Zamudio helped strengthen the spine in front of the backline, keeping Portland either in the lead or close as players like Noah Santos or Max Eisenberg produced the match-winning moments.

Decarlo Guerra, LAFC U-15

A composed holding midfielder, Guerra offered an immense presence from a deep-midfield spot, helping LAFC grab hold of games. He flashed impressive ball-winning traits while also acting as a conduit in central spaces to play through the midfield.

Caleb Borneo, Columbus Crew U-17

The quick central midfielder isn’t quite the same physical presence as Zamudio and Guerra, but he demonstrated a toughness and quality that helped the Crew to the quarterfinals. He moved the ball swiftly to help the Crew progress the ball upfield, and was able to beat defenders off the dribble on a regular basis.

Adyn Torres, Atlanta United U-15

Atlanta’s run to the semifinals was about the team making the most of transition moments, getting forward before the opposition was set. Torres ensured his side could throw numbers forward, on a regular basis, as he helped lock the spine down and offer an outlet in buildup play. He was one of the top U-15 players on display.

Forwards

Noah Santos, Portland Timbers U-15

The Under-15 Tournament MVP, Santos was at the heart of several of Portland’s big moments in front of goal. He grabbed a late winner against Atlanta United in the group stage, one of his five tallies in seven games. A promising forward, he showed impressive game smarts and intelligence, running to the right spots to get into dangerous areas.

Mateo Ponce-Ocampo, NYC U-17

Tricking and versatile, Ponce-Ocampo is excellent in tight spaces and can handle pressure with the ball. He scored a big goal against Tigres, though New York City FC fell in that match on penalty kicks.

Dempsey Resich, LAFC U-15

One of several impressive attacking players on display for LAFC, Resich started out strong with two goals in the opener and never let up. A relentless presser who brings energy and goals, he had a very impressive week.

Honorable mentions

GK Keenan VanPelt (Portland Timbers U-15), M Rocket Ritarita (Atlanta United U-15), F Ashton Gordon (Atlanta United U-15), F Etienne Veillard (Seattle Sounders U-17), F Bryan Destin (Inter Miami CF U-17), GK Ty Rinker (Real Salt Lake U-15), D Jackson Lindimore (Columbus Crew U-17), M Brian Carmona (Charlotte FC U-15), F Micah Burton (Austin FC U-17)