The Seattle Sounders Academy U-17’s are back-to-back Generation adidas Cup champions following a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Liga MX giants Tigres UANL on Sunday behind goals from Chris Aquino and Etienne Veillard.
Back in 2019, the Sounders became the first MLS team to win the top flight of GA Cup, which is the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in North America, by toppling international giants like Flamengo, River Plate, West Ham and Valencia. Two years later, and with a completely new crop of players, the Sounders are back-to-back champions.
The young Sounders reached the tournament’s title match by finishing second in Group D, where they lost to Charlotte FC on penalties but defeated Austin FC (2-0) and Mexican club Santos Laguna (2-0). En route to the title match, the Sounders toppled the Philadelphia Union in the first knockout round (2-0), beat CF Monterrey 8-7 on penalties in the semifinals after the match ended scoreless, and picked up a 1-0 win over Inter Miami in the semifinals.
Facing a Liga MX powerhouse for the third time in the tournament, the young Sounders came flying out of the gates against Tigres. Seattle nearly grabbed the opening goal in the 21st minute when Alex Hall fired a shot from distance that nearly snuck into the bottom corner. One minute later, Sounders goalkeeper Wyatt Nelson produced a stunning save in the top corner to keep the match level.
The Rave Green finally found the breakthrough in the 32nd minute when substitute Aquino’s golazo from distance nestled into the side netting just two minutes and 48 seconds after entering the match. Seattle capitalized on the momentum just 25 seconds into the second half when Veillard burst down the right flank and slid his shot past the goalkeeper. Both goals were assisted by Alex Hall, who was playing as a central attacking midfielder after starring on the wing throughout the tournament.
Despite protecting a 2-0 lead, the young Sounders carved out several chances to extend their lead, with Antonio Herrera coming close after a clinical counter attack. Tigres piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes, but the Rave Green maintained the clean sheet and emerged victorious.
A tournament that has long been dominated by international clubs, only two MLS teams have ever won the top flight of Generation adidas Cup: the Sounders in 2019 and the Sounders in 2022. Facing off against the top prospects from around the world, it was the young Sounders that once again emerged as champions. As a pipeline of future players for the MLS team, it was fitting that the young Sounders defeated three Liga MX teams to lift the trophy as the First Team prepares for its first Concacaf Champions League Final against Pumas UNAM later this month.
Bringing Home Trophies
In addition to winning GA Cup, goalkeeper Wyatt Nelson was awarded Goalkeeper of the Tournament and center back Stuart Hawkins took home GA Cup Most Valuable Player honors. Nelson has already made his professional debut with the Tacoma Defiance, while Hawkins has been a regular with the United States U-17 Men’s National Team.
GA Cup is a showcase for the future stars of MLS. While there were certainly standout performers from this Sounders group, it was truly a collective effort. From the starters to the guys that came off the bench, every player contributed to this incredible achievement. It was the type of run that is reminiscent of the culture and tradition of winning at the First Team level for the Sounders.