The United States U-17 men’s national team, led by Seattle Sounders Homegrown players Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Danny Leyva, finished second at the Concacaf Championship on Thursday in Bradenton, Fla., falling 2-1 to Mexico in extra time.
Head Coach Raphael Wicky selected Leyva and Ocampo-Chavez in his Starting XI, a sign of their importance to the team that will compete at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil in October.
Entering the final, Leyva, one of just four 2003s on the roster, had started five of the United States’ six matches at the tournament, earning two assists. Playing all 120 minutes of the extra-time loss, Leyva handed Gianluca Busio a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 lead in 25th minute with an inch-perfect cross, but the Sporting Kansas City midfielder put his shot off the post.
Ocampo-Chavez, who had four goals and one assist at the Concacaf Championship, put in a dynamic display against Mexico. He deserved several assists on the night as he created clear-cut chances for Busio and Giovanni Reyna inside the box, but the young Yanks couldn’t find the back of the net. He played 86 minutes before making way for substitute Tyler Freeman.
The U.S. scored first in the 10th minute and dominated the first half, but Mexico leveled in the 17th minute. After regulation time ended 1-1, El Tri took home the title with a goal in the second period of extra time.
The United States will be disappointed to lose a final in which they generated more than enough chances to win. But Leyva and Ocampo-Chavez should return to Seattle full of confidence, as they were two of the top performers for a talented U.S. U-17 side that is bound for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.