2024 Generation Adidas Cup Recap: Union U-17’s victorious once again

Union, Generation Adidas Cup
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

The 2024 Generation Adidas Cup took place throughout the past week, and both the U-15 and U-17 Union sides were participating in it once again. The U-15s would be looking to get revenge as they fell in the final last year, and the U-17s would be looking to defend the title that they won last season. It will be a tough test for both sides, as top academies from all over the world will be participating in the tournament.

Union, Generation Adidas Cup
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

U-15’s Look for Revenge

The U-15 fell in the finals last year to Austin FC in penalties, and the squad was looking to get back there and get the win in the 2024 edition. They would open up their group stage match against Genk, where Malik Jakupovic would score a brace, but the match would end up going to penalties. Genk would end up winning the match in PKs, and the Union would end up going home with a point.

The second match of the group stage saw Philly take on FC Dallas, which saw the U-15s pick up their first win of the tournament. Goals by Willyam Ferreira and Malik Jakupovic would give the Union the 2-0 victory. The final match of the group stage saw the Union take on Inter Miami, where the club would lose by a score of 1-0. 

The performance in the group stages gave the U-15s a spot in the Premier Division bracket, where they would face off against the Chicago Fire in the first round. Malik Jakupovic would score the lone goal for the Union in the match, but Chicago would also have a goal, sending the match to penalty kicks. The Fire would win the match by a score of 1-1 (3-0), knocking the U-15s out of the bracket. 

But the U-15s were not done after this match, as they would play three more matches in the showcase. Their first match was against the Columbus Crew, where they fell to the fellow Eastern Conference side by a score of 1-0. They would then take on Club Necaxa, using goals from Malik Jakupovic, Tyler Gladstone, and Dylan Luebbert to win 3-0. The third and final match of the showcase was against Minnesota United where goals from Mateo Gallegos, Tyler Gladstone, and Timoni Gbalajobi gave the club a 3-1 win.

Mandatory Credit: MLS Next

U-17’s Victorious Generation Adidas Cup Again

In the 2023 edition of the Generation Adidas Cup, the Union U-17’s found themselves champions, defeating FC Dallas by a score of 1-0 in the final. The team would be looking to repeat as champions, as talented players such as Cavan Sullivan, Anisse Saidi, Diego Rocio, and Neil Pierre were all playing on the squad. They would begin their journey to repeat with the three-match group stage, where they faced off against Atlas F.C., FC Cincinnati, and the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

They opened up play in the first match against Atlas F.C., where the club picked up a 2-1 win, using goals from Anisse Saidi and Luca Mazzola to get the win. The U-17s would then face off against FC Cincinnati, where the squad lost by a score of 2-0. The third and final match of the group stage would see the U-17s take on the Vancouver Whitecaps U-17s, and the youngsters would end back up on the winning side of things. They would defeat the Western Conference academy by a score of 4-1, using goals from Kellan LeBlanc, Neil Pierre, and a brace from Jamir Johnson. 

With their performance in the group stages, the U-17s advanced to the Championship Bracket of the knockout stages. The U-17s started their knockout stage journey in the Round of 16’s against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. It was a close-fought match, but a 58th-minute goal by Jamir Johnson was all that the Union needed, as they held on for the 1-0 victory. This win would see them advance to the quarterfinals, where they would face off against Croatian side, HNK Hajduk Split.

The Union would use a brace from Diego Rocio, along with separate goals from Peter Doran and Anisse Saidi to help defeat the European side by a score of 4-2. With the win against Hajduk, the U-17s would see themselves with a match against Flamengo in the semifinals, with both sides looking to advance to the finals. A Diego Rocio brace would be the only goal in the entire game, as the Union would defeat Flamengo 2-0, and set up a date with the LA Galaxy U-17s in the final

As previously mentioned, the U-17 final for the Generation Adidas Cup would see the Union take on the LA Galaxy. It was set to be an exciting match, as both sides played well throughout the tournament to get to the final, and it did not disappoint at all. The Union opened up the scoring in the 31st minute with a goal from Diego Rocio, which was his fifth of the tournament. The Union would go into the half up 1-0, but the Galaxy would score two quick goals to start the second half to make it 2-1.

But the Union was not done fighting in the match, as Cavan Sullivan would equalize and make it 2-2. This is how the match would end in regular time, which meant that extra time was waiting. There would be no goals scored in extra time, and the match would end up going to penalties. The Union would use a clutch save from goalie Gavin Atkinson to finish the match off, and the final score was 2-2 (5-4) to the Union U-17s, making them back-to-back champions!

Union, Generation Adidas Cup
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Awards for the U-17’s

While the U-17’s had a great tournament and were crowned champions, two players stood out and ended up going home with additional awards. To start, goalie Gavin Atkinson won the Golden Glove for the tournament. Atkinson had a good all-around tournament and was crucial for the Union in winning it all. Atkinson had three clean sheets in the tournament, along with making crucial stops en route to the trophy. 

The second player who went home with an additional award in the tournament was Diego Rocio, who was named Player of the Tournament. Rocio played a crucial role for the U-17 squad, scoring five goals, which led the team in that category. All five of his goals came in the knockout stages, as he scored two against Hajduk Split, two against Flamengo, and one against the LA Galaxy in the final. Congrats to both of these players on their success in the GA Cup!

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union & MLS Next