FRISCO, Texas — For Toronto FC, the inaugural Generation adidas Cup Under-15 final brought to an end a fantastic run that saw Toronto win four of their five games. Unfortunately the one match they did not win was the final against Chivas de Guadalajara, who they lost to in a penalty-kick shootout after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw after 80 minutes of action.
Despite coming up short against the Liga MX academy side in the final, TFC came away as the top MLS team in the eight-team tournament that saw four MLS sides face four Liga MX sides. In all MLS teams went 11-6-3 against Liga MX competition.
Less than ten minutes into action, Toronto FC forward and Toronto FC II signee Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty leveled things at 1-1 with a spectacular outside-footed shot from the right edge of the penalty box into the upper left corner. The goal was his fourth in five games and offered a glimpse at the promise for many of the players at this tournament.
After a couple of herculean saves from Toronto goalkeeper Dino Bontis, including a tipped-save to keep his side in it in extratime. The game moved to penalties where Chivas ultimately outlasted TFC. The atmosphere came to a fever-pitch in the closing moments, with Toronto FC’s U-17 team along the sideline cheering and chanting their fellow academy members to victory.
For Toronto U-15 coach Michael Stefano, the title game clearly pitted the tournament’s two-best teams against one another.
“I thought it was a good game,” Stefano said to MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I think there wasn't much between the two teams. It's unfortunate that such a hard-fought match, in the end, doesn't necessarily reflect the game itself.”
Stefano knows his team gave it their all, which only highlighted how well Toronto played during the tournament.
“They worked extremely hard and they're an exceptional group,” Stefano said. “I think, by and large, we showed over the span of the five games we are the best team here.”
In the end, though, leaving Texas as the top MLS team and performing so well against the Mexican sides at GA Cup is no easy achievement.
“We value [the tournament] a lot because we get a chance to play against four Mexican sides, which is a little unusual for us and the competition level is very high and we really appreciated that for sure,” Stefano said.
For his kids, an opportunity of this caliber doesn’t fail to leave a lasting impact.
“This week has been invaluable in the experience we've been able to gain against these groups and we look forward to more opportunities.”