League champions and individual award winners honored from 2022 MLS NEXT Cup
FRISCO, TX – The 2021-22 MLS NEXT Cup champions were crowned on Saturday and Sunday night, culminating a 10-month long regular season and week-long MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase event in the Dallas metroplex.
The second-ever MLS NEXT Cup champions all came from MLS academy programs: U15 Inter Miami CF, U16 D.C. United, U17 Philadelphia Union, and U19 New England Revolution. All four championship matches were played at Toyota Stadium, home to MLS club FC Dallas, and streamed live on Twitch and YouTube.
The tournament’s Top Scorer, Best Goalkeeper and MVP awards for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs were presented following the conclusion of play in each of the four age groups.
U15 MLS NEXT Cup Champions: Inter Miami CF
Inter Miami CF thwarted Real Salt Lake’s defense of the U15 championship, winning 2-1 in the U15 title game and taking home the MLS NEXT Cup crown. Miami got off to a fast start, scoring in the 13th minute off the head of Victor Fun following a cross by Santiago Morales – son of RSL legend Javier Morales. Morales extended the club’s lead to 2-0, finishing on a strong one-timer from outside the box in the 26th minute. Real Salt Lake closed the gap to one on a penalty kick from Zavier Gozo , his fifth goal of the tournament, but the club was unable to grab an equalizer. Morales earned tournament MVP honors for the U15 division.
U15 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Top Scorer: Zavier Gozo, Real Salt Lake
- Best Goalkeeper: Will Mackay, Real Salt Lake
- MVP: Santiago Morales, Inter Miami CF
U16 MLS NEXT Cup Champions: D.C. United
D.C. United secured the first trophy of the weekend, defeating Strikers FC of California 1-0 in the first of four championship matches. D.C. United’s Sydney Aggrey recorded his fourth goal of the tournament in the game’s sixth minute of play, as he knocked the ball loose from an opposing player before taking a touch on the edge of the box and firing a low shot past the Strikers FC goalkeeper, Dylan Kaye. Kaye’s sensational play in goal kept his club within one score; however, they could not capitalize as D.C. held onto the 1-0 advantage for the duration of the match. Marcus Lee of Strikers FC was named the tournament MVP in the U16 division.
U16 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Top Scorer: Sydney Aggrey, D.C. United, Ignacio Alem, D.C. United, Roka Tsunehara, De Anza Force, Daniel Baran, Sockers FC
- Best Goalkeeper: Luke Peacock, D.C. United
- MVP: Marcus Lee, Strikers FC
U17 MLS NEXT Cup Champions: Philadelphia Union
In the highest scoring of the four championship matches, Philadelphia erased a 2-0 second-half deficit behind a brace from Marcos Zambrano-Delgado to defeat the Columbus Crew U17s in the exciting U17 finale. Columbus opened the scoring in first-half added time as Taha Habroune was taken down in the box and converted the penalty kick to give his club a 1-0 halftime advantage. The Crew extended their lead just 35 seconds into the second half, as Joshua Bartels received a perfectly placed pass from Owen Presthus and finished with his head to give his team a 2-0 lead.
However, the high-scoring Union attack quickly bounced back. In the 54th minute, Zambrano-Delgado glanced a header inside the back post off a corner to cut the deficit to one. The equalizer came off the head of David Vazquez in the 67th minute following a cross from Luciano Sanchez, before Zambrano-Delgado scored the club’s third and deciding goal in the 73rd minute, driving a low shot from the edge of the box for the game-winning score. Zambrano-Delgado scored seven goals in the tournament, earning him the age group’s Top Scorer award for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.
U17 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Top Scorer: Marcos Zambrano-Delgado, Philadelphia Union
- Best Goalkeeper: Stas Lapkes, Columbus Crew
- MVP: Giorgio De Libera, Columbus Crew
U19 MLS NEXT Cup Champions: New England Revolution
The New England Revolution U19 squad received an early goal off the foot of Jack Panayotou in the sixth minute and held off the San Francisco Glens attack throughout the match to earn a hard-fought 1-0 victory in the U19 title match. Panayotou was on the receiving end of an early ball from Triton Beauvois, who found his teammate streaking through the box to give the club a 1-0 advantage. Kevin Rodriguez Andrade , the tournament MVP in the U19 age division, attempted the immediate response on behalf of the Glens with a stinging shot from the edge of the area that Revolution goalkeeper Max Weinstein could only put out for a corner. San Francisco’s late attack was stifled by Weinstein, whose strong play in goal helped his club to a historic victory.
U19 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs Individual Awards
- Top Scorer: Jack Panayotou, New England Revolution
- Best Goalkeeper: Max Weinstein, New England Revolution
- MVP: Kevin Rodriguez Andrade, San Francisco Glens