Seven MLS homegrowns earn Best XI spot at 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship

Seven homegrown players from six different Major League Soccer clubs have earned Best XI honors after the recently-concluded 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Honduras, per the federation's release Monday.

The group includes four players from the United States and one apiece from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico. The US, unsurprisingly, have the largest contingent after booking dual-qualification to the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Indonesia and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Head coach Mikey Varas' team also won a third straight Concacaf U-20 title.

Here’s the full XI, with the MLS-based honorees bolded:

  • GK: Christopher Brady (United States)
  • D: Jalen Neal (United States), Aaron Zuniga (Honduras), Antonio Leone (Mexico)
  • M: Edison Azcona (Dominican Republic), Arquimides Ordonez (Guatemala), Paxten Aaronson (United States), Quinn Sullivan (United States)
  • F: Marco Aceituno (Honduras), Esteban Lozano (Mexico), Angel Montes De Oca (Dominican Republic)

Brady earned Best Goalkeeper honors for recording five clean sheets and 20 saves in six appearances during the tournament. The Chicago Fire FC youngster and USYNT standout didn’t concede any goals in four knockout round matches.

Neal, playing at center back, helped the USYNT post five clean sheets in his five starts. The LA Galaxy defender also had six clearances, completed more than 94% of his passes and scored a goal.

Leone, an LAFC homegrown defender, had an assist, scored two goals and completed more than 94% of his passes. Mexico lost in the quarterfinals to Guatemala, ending a run of five straight U-20 World Cup appearances.

Azcona was one of the leaders of the Dominican Republic's history-making team that qualified for both the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Inter Miami CF homegrown attacker scored the game-winner in the 5-4 Round of 16 win versus El Salvador and then the crucial 2-2 equalizer in the semifinals versus Guatemala.

Ordonez was the only player to score in all three group stage matches, then tallied against Mexico in the quarterfinals and against the Dominican Republic in the semifinals. The US-born FC Cincinnati homegrown attacker was hugely impactful for Guatemala.

Aaronson’s hype train reached another level at the Concacaf U-20 Championship, as he scored seven goals in the tournament, including five in the USYNT's final three games. That helped the Philadelphia Union homegrown starlet claim the competition's Top Scorer Award and Best Player Award.

Sullivan was at times dominant for the US, tallying six goals – including three in a 3-0 group stage win versus Cuba and then a brace in the 5-0 Round of 16 victory against Nicaragua. The Philadelphia Union homegrown star also chipped in three assists.