Leyva and Ocampo-Chavez w/ US

With World Cup qualification secured, Danny Leyva and Alonfso Ocampo-Chavez set sights on Concacaf title

Sounders FC players Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez guided the United States U-17 Men’s National Team to a 3-0 win over Panama in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Championships.

After defeating Guadeloupe 8-0 in the quarterfinal, with Ocampo-Chavez contributing two goals, the pair keyed each of the U.S.’s three scores on Sunday.

“It’s been great playing alongside [Leyva] through Sounders Academy, Tacoma [Defiance] and now with the national team, getting to represent our country,” said Ocampo-Chavez. “I feel like it’s a dream come true for any kid, especially at our age. I love playing with Danny.”

The young Yanks not only booked passage to the next round of the regional tournament, where they’ll face Canada in a rematch of the group stage, but also to the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Brazil, as all four semifinalists automatically qualify.

After a first half in which they dominated possession but failed to capitalize on the momentum, the Stars and Stripes broke the deadlock in the 54th minute. Leyva pulled off an audacious pirouette between two defenders before playing a pass to his Sounders teammate. Ocampo-Chavez turned and quickly slipped the ball to Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio, who curled his shot around the goalkeeper.

“Every time I come with the national team, I play with a smile because it’s my country and I’m playing for them,” said Ocampo-Chavez. “My expectation is to play at the highest level, help the team out and score goals.”

Ocampo-Chavez, who started on Sunday and has four goals in five matches at the tournament, then drew a penalty kick five minutes later, which Gio Reyna confidently fired home for the second goal.

Starting his fourth match of the Concacaf Championship, Leyva bossed the midfield all afternoon. He picked up his second assist of the tournament with a slide-rule pass into the path of Ricardo Pepi, whose goal rounded out the scoring.

“When I first came here, my goal was to qualify for the World Cup,” reflected Ocampo-Chavez. “That’s already happened, and I’m thankful for that. The next goal is to beat Canada, then get to the final and bring that trophy home.”

The United States kicked off the tournament with a 3-2 comeback win over Canada. If they can replicate that result on Tuesday, they’ll take on the winner of the Haiti-Mexico semifinal in the title match.

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