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Generation adidas Cup Best XI: Who were the standouts in 2024?

April 10, 2024, by Travis Clark | www.mlssoccer.com



The 2024 Generation adidas Cup concluded on Sunday, as champions were crowned in the Under-15 (Valencia) and Under-17 (Philadelphia Union) age groups.


It was again an opportunity for top talent from academies in Major League Soccer and globally to match up against one another.


There was a long list of impressive talent that seized advantage of the chance to compete on a big stage. And, at the end of the tournament, technical staff from MLS NEXT identified a Best XI across both age groups.


Goalkeeper


Victor Lanlo, Toulouse FC U-15

The French side reached the final, thanks in part to the play of Lanlo between the posts. He was named the Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate for the age group, making a penalty save against Charlotte FC. Critically, he stopped a PK against Toronto FC in the semifinals, which his side won on penalties.


Defenders


David Alcover, Valencia U-15

An attacking right back for the Under-15 champions, Alcover provided quality, two-way contributions when on the field. Also, he caught the eye going forward by adding pace and dynamism.


Neil Pierre, Philadelphia Union U-17

The 6-foot-5 central defender helped the Union win the U-17 age group and staked a claim for MVP honors. Pierre’s physical ability to defend made him extremely difficult to get past, allowing Philly to get numbers into the attack. He was also a regular target on set pieces, scoring a goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps.


Stefan Kapor, Toronto FC U-15

Toronto’s excellent spine propelled them to the semifinals, where they suffered a shootout loss against runners up Toulouse. Mobile, left-footed and a leader at the back for TFC, he was one of the standout defenders of his age group.


Midfielders


Oliver Hernandez, San Jose Earthquakes U-17

Hernandez and the Earthquakes reached the semifinals of the older age group, spinning off four wins to start the tournament. A central midfielder, Hernandez impressed on both sides of the ball, protecting a back four that had four shutouts and playing a key role in the team’s buildup play.


Marc Martinez, Valencia U-15

A central midfielder from the champion LaLiga side, Martinez finished as the Top Scorer winner in the younger age group. His movement and runs from midfield were difficult to track, and his teammates were outstanding in picking him out in dangerous spots.


Gabriel Arnold, LA Galaxy U-17

A star performance in a Cali Clásico elevated Arnold’s status, as he scored a goal and notched an assist (both from corner kicks) in the 3-0 semifinal win. That tells just part of the story, as the midfielder was instrumental for a team committed to building from back to front. Arnold handled pressure extremely well and was key in LA’s run to the final.


Aymen Amaaouch, Toulouse U-15

Another outstanding central midfielder, Amaaouch earned MVP honors for the age group, helping to guide Toulouse to the final. The French side won all three group games by a 1-0 score, with Amaaouch helping to lock down the central midfield and control games.


Forwards


Stefan Chirila, FC Cincinnati U-17

Already one of the top goal scorers in MLS NEXT prior to the competition, Chirila backed that up by finishing as the U-17 Top Scorer winner. A hat trick in the quarterfinals against Sporting KC nearly saw FC Cincinnati reach the final four of the tournament. Chirila’s ability to contribute from wide areas added a well-rounded edge to his game, as he connected play and helped create chances for his teammates.


Ricky Moreno, LA Galaxy U-17

Five goals from the forward led the Galaxy and finished tied with Chirila for most in the competition. Moreno’s quick feet were an asset whether it was getting on the end of chances or creating them himself. Two goals against River Plate helped the Galaxy tie that game 2-2, sending the team to a shootout, where they were able to best the Argentine giants.


Diego Rocio, Philadelphia Union U-17

Like Chirila, Rocio’s been a big-time goal scorer in MLS NEXT play. At first, that form didn’t carry into the competition, but then the knockout rounds began. Rocio scored five times in the final three games, including braces in back-to-back wins over Hajduk Split and Flamengo. He was named MVP of the U-17 age group.


Honorable Mention


Under-15

  • D - Joshua Tahou (Arsenal)

  • D - Alex Gomez (New York Red Bulls)

  • D - Linkon Ream (Real Salt Lake)

  • D - Adam Soudi (Toulouse)

  • M - Kaedren Spivey (San Jose Earthquakes)

  • F - Ekene Chukwuani (Brondby)

  • F - Robert Turdean (Chicago Fire)

  • F - Amadou Konteh (Valencia)

Under-17

  • GK - Gavin Atkinson (Philadelphia Union)

  • D - Ian James (Sporting KC)

  • M - Noah Fernandez (PSV Eindhoven)

  • F - Daniel Pinter (Inter Miami CF)

  • F - Seok-jin Han (Jeonbuk Hyundai)



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