Talk about a wildly successful trip to Honduras.
The United States concluded their stay in Central America on Sunday night with a dominant 6-0 win over the Dominican Republic to capture a third straight Concacaf U-20 Championship title. They also topped the region in 2017 and 2018.
The lopsided victory follows head coach Mikey Varas’ team booking one of Concacaf’s four 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup spots by beating Costa Rica, 2-0 on Tuesday, in the competition’s quarterfinals. They’ve reached the U-20 World Cup five straight times and are the only nation to reach the last three quarterfinals.
Then, with a 3-0 win over hosts Honduras on Friday evening, the US punched one of Concacaf’s two tickets to the 2024 Olympic Games. The Yanks last qualified for the U-23 competition in 2008, missing out on one of the world’s premier men’s soccer tournaments in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
Against the Dominican Republic, Philadelphia Union homegrown attacker Paxten Aaronson scored twice to win the Golden Boot award with seven goals and one assist, narrowly ahead of his club teammate Quinn Sullivan (six goals, three assists).
Other goalscorers vs. the Dominican Republic were Atlanta United forward Tyler Wolff, Inter Miami CF fullback Noah Allen, Philadelphia midfielder Jack McGlynn and San Jose Earthquakes forward Niko Tsakiris – all MLS homegrowns (17 of 20 US players rostered were from the league).
The US received several post-tournament individual awards, too:
It all capped a resounding, dual-qualification performance from the U-20s in Honduras, which started two weeks ago with Group E play against Canada, Cuba and Saint Kitts & Nevis. They also felled Nicaragua in the Round of 16.