FRISCO, Texas — For the first time in Generation adidas Cup history, MLS sides battled against Liga MX teams as the rivalry seen across the Concacaf Champions League took place at the Under-15 level.
Overall, the showing from MLS was strong in the first matches of a new format that will see four clubs from each league facing each team from the opposing league once. An exciting fifth and final matchup will pit the first-place Liga MX side against the top MLS club in a winner-take-all showdown for North American bragging rights.
LAFC, whose academy has had a strong showing in the past months, including a U-13 Concacaf Champions League championship in August, continued their quality performances with a 1-0 victory over Cruz Azul Wednesday.
Christian Torres scored the only match’s goal late in the match with three minutes to go. After a mad scramble that involved saves and goal-line tackles, the ball pinged out to Torres, who put it into the open net.
The goal was coming for LAFC who had begun to dominate the match, creating opportunities but unable to find the finishing touch.
“I think it was a good game,” coach Cristiano Scapolo told MLSsoccer.com. “We deserved to win in the end. We were the better team but it is a good competition. I think we were struggling a little bit to find solutions in the final third in the first half and then we got the goal in the second half after three or four chances.”
It was a very back and forth match, with both teams pressing and battling in the midfield. Not many chances were created throughout the match but the intensity was evident.
“It’s interesting,” Scapolo said when asked about the format. “It’s the first time for us. We were very happy to face Mexican clubs because we don’t have a chance weekly to play those games. We’re very pleased of the organization of the tournament, MLS, adidas and the venues are beautiful. We’re very pleased to be here.”
Now, the team will look to play Leon Thursday morning, as both team’s senior sides leading their respective leagues, with an evening match against Monterrey set for 8 pm ET.
“They’re progressing well,” Scapolo said about his players. “Of course, there’s a lot of work to do from our side but I think so far, they’re responding well. They’re still 14 years old so they have a long way to go.”