GA Cup, Matchday 5: New York City FC beat Tigres, win Premier Division

FRISCO, Tex. -- They failed to qualify for the Champions Division at the 2017 Generation adidas Cup, but New York City FC accomplished the next best thing by winning the Premier Division on Saturday night.

Their 1-0 win against Tigres in the final was not the easiest as the game went into extra time after neither team could breakthrough in the first 70 minutes. The winner came via a penalty kick from Giovanni Reyna, who earned it after getting the ball on the wing and gliding past a defender, forcing his opponent into a final in the box.

NYCFC were the better of the two sides in the first half, but Tigres came out in the second half and dominated play. NYCFC goalkeeper Johan Penaranda was forced to come off his line several times to clear balls and made a couple stellar saves. His performance in this game, and throughout a tournament where his team did not concede a goal, led to him being awarded the Golden Glove for the Premier Division as top goalkeeper. Reyna was awarded the Golden Ball for his play through all of NYCFC’s five games.

“I think they played with maturity beyond the years,” Sigi Schmid told MLSsoccer.com after the game. The former Seattle Sounders head coach called the game for MLSsoccer.com. “I think they stuck to their philosophy and what was impressive today was that they played a first half where they dominated the game and they were able to manage the game in the second half. That’s something that’s very important to learn at a young age.”

RED BULLS FINISH THIRD IN CHAMPIONS DIVISION

After a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals, the New York Red Bulls were able to get some consolation as they beat Independiente del Valle in penalty kicks to finish third in the Champions Division.

The Red Bulls went down in the 47th minute, but after a red card was shown to an Independiente player, Ben Mines added to his goal tally off a set piece in the waning minutes, ensuring the Golden Boot in the Champions Division. The two teams went to PKs where the Red Bulls came out on top 3-2.

DALLAS BEAT GALAXY IN HEART-PUMPING MATCH

Two of the best MLS academies faced off in the 7th place match of the Champions Division, as FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy both suffered defeats to foreign opponents on Thursday. Brayan Padilla, the goalscorer against Real Madrid, again shined for FC Dallas, scoring both of their goals in a 2-0 win. You can see his laser of an opener below.

The Galaxy started the game without three of their best players in the lineup: Efrain Alvarez, Ulysses Llanez and Jorge Hernandez, but the three came on in the second half and changed the game. Alvarez, despite being one of the youngest players in the tournament, again showed why he was one of the best players in Frisco. The 14-year-old placed his passes perfectly with his cultured left foot and was a consistent threat for Brian Kleiban’s team.

The overall talent level on the field was evident throughout the match with both teams attacking at will. It would not be a surprise to see more than a few of these players at the MLS level in a few years.

The much-hyped John “Xuxuh” Hilton made his first start of the tournament at right back, returning from injury and more than holding his own.

A TROPHY FOR THE U-12's

A champion was crowned on Saturday afternoon in the Under-12 division when Malaga defeated Villarreal 3-0 in an end-to-end, all-La Liga final. MLS clubs New York City FC and Orlando City SC finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the 20-team field. The 7-on-7 tournament featured many high-scoring matches with teams exhibiting a preference toward tactically-savvy play punctuated by infrequent fouls and stoppages. Despite the prolific rate of goal-scoring, NYCFC’s goalkeeper shined throughout the tournament and was awarded the tournament’s Golden Glove.

Generation adidas Cup debutantes Los Angeles FC finished 5th, which will surely please LAFC’s staff as they build a foundation for their entry into MLS in 2018. Toronto FC, the only Canadian club in the U-12 division, finished in 6th place. 

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