History has shown two truths about sport.

  1. Winning is an attribute.
  2. Winning is infectious.

Case in point: 2022 Generation adidas Cup.

Two age groups, two champions from Major League Soccer.

History could tell us the teams before we scroll down.

Two clubs that have competed for the last seven MLS Cups.

Two clubs that have collectively made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in five straight years.

Two clubs that have made winning their identity.

The Portland Timbers, champions of the Under-15 division, and Seattle Sounders FC, champions of the Under-17 competition.

Together they beat six international clubs. The Timbers knocked off Manchester United, Valencia and Porto; the Sounders defeated the whole of Liga MX, including Santos Laguna, Monterrey and Tigres. Injury time victories; penalty kick victories; cruise-to-the-finish line wins; back-up-against-the-wall wins; sauce-y goals; run-through-the-post goals. They took each challenge and came out the same way each time: celebrating.

It is, after all, one of the main objectives of the Generation adidas Cup. Competing at the highest level is, above all, mentally demanding. Playing for trophies on worldwide television is, if nothing else, emotionally difficult. The only way to prepare for the moment is to live through the moment. Generation adidas Cup at the U-15 and U-17 levels provides an opening opportunity to experience the challenge.

Playing against international competition for trophies becomes a habit; winning becomes a habit.

The power of habit was on full display throughout the week in Frisco, Texas. A keyword on youth development is alignment. Alignment from the top-down, from the first team to the youth team. When you see a group of players on the field, you should know the club without seeing the crest.

Nobody aligned more closely to their club identity than the Timbers and Sounders. The identities are, quite simply, winners.