PREVIEW: U-17 MNT Takes on Mexico for 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship

After six straight wins to open the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is set for a showdown with archrival Mexico in the tournament final. With a berth to this fall’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil secured, the USA sets its sights on a fourth Concacaf title at this age level, and its first since 2011.
By: U.S. Soccer

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Mexico
2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Final
IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
May 16, 2019
7:00 p.m. ET (UDN, Concacaf Facebook)

CLASH FOR THE CONCACAF CROWN: After six straight wins to open the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is set for a showdown with archrival Mexico in the tournament final. With a berth to this fall’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil secured, the USA sets its sights on a fourth Concacaf title at this age level, and its first since 2011.

Since its opening match, the USA has not trailed and the team hasn’t allowed a goal over its last 396 minutes of play, winning six straight at the tournament. Mexico narrowly defeated Haiti 1-0 in its semifinal to clinch a spot in the confederation final after clinching its 14th U-17 World Cup appearance with a 5-1 quarterfinal win against El Salvador.

Thursday’s final will be broadcast live at 7:00 p.m. ET on Univision Deportes Network and Concacaf Facebook. The match at IMG Academy will be open to the public. Follow the U-17 MNT on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.





Goal Scorers

May 2


Group Stage

W 3-2

Busio, Alejandre, Reyna

May 4


Group Stage

W 6-1

Hernandez, Busio (2), Saldana, Ocampo-Chavez

May 6


Group Stage

W 3-0

Yow (2), Ocampo-Chavez

May 9


Rond of 16

W 8-0

Ocampo-Chavez (2), Yow, Reyna (3), Busio, O.G.

May 12



W 3-0

Busio, Reyna, Pepi

May 14



W 4-0

Kayo, Reyna, Pepi (2)

ON TO THE FINALAfter punching its U-17 World Cup ticket with a 3-0 quarterfinal win against Panama, the USA unleashed another storm of second-half scoring to top Canada 4-0 in the semifinals. The U.S. threatened throughout the first half, though wasn’t able to find the back of the net. That changed shortly after the break, when Bryang Kayo slotted home his first international goal. Gio Reyna scored on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard-box in the 63rd, while Ricardo Pepi bagged a late brace in four minutes with goals in the 78th and 82nd. Gianluca Busio took home Man of the Match honors after setting up all three of the USA’s goals from the run of play.

Reyna’s goal was good for his sixth of the tournament, and third from a dead ball situation. His six goals put him alone in second for the competition’s Golden Boot race. The current scoring leader, Costa Rica’s Geancarlo Castro, has been eliminated.

After collecting all nine possible points in Group F and with three wins in the Knockout Round, the U-17 MNT is riding an 11-game unbeaten streak dating back to last October. The U-17s have also put together four straight clean sheets, not allowing a goal in their last 396 minutes of play. Dating back to the 2015 tournament, the USA also rides a 13-match unbeaten streak at the Concacaf U-17 Championship into Thursday’s match.


  • Thursday’s final marks the seventh meeting between the two nations at this tournament, with the USA holding a 1-3-2 against El Tri.
  • The nations clashed twice at the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship, their first meetings since 1996. There, the USA topped Mexico 4-3 in a group stage thriller with two goals from Josh Sargent and a tally from current U-20 MNT forward Ayo Akinola. They met again in the final, which the U.S. dropped in heartbreaking fashion, losing in penalties after giving up an equalizer to Mexico during second-half stoppage time.
  • Israel Luna leads Mexico in scoring at the tournament with three goals.
  • With its quarterfinal victory over El Salvador, Mexico qualified for its 14th U-17 World Cup and fifth straight. Mexico has appeared in 17 of 19 Concacaf championships at this age level.
  • Mexico’s roster features 19 players born in 2002 and one born in 2003.

U.S. U-17 MNT - 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-17 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 17/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alberta.; 6/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 17/1), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 15/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy II; Los Angeles, Calif.; 5/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 14/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 19/2), 2-Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 18/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 6/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 12/7), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 18/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 5/1), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 6/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 22/2)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 2/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 6/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.; 20/9), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 11/4), 10-Gio Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 13/7), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 11/6)     

Mexico – 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Arturo Delgado, 1-Eduardo Garcia
DEFENDERS (7): 14-Abraham Flores, 4-Jesus Gomez, 3-Victor Guzman, 13-Emilio Lara, 5-Rafael Martinez, 8-Kevin Ortega, 2-Jose Ruiz
MIDFIELDERS (6): 20-Bruce El-Mesmari, 11-Bryan Gonzalez, 16-Kevin Mariscal, 15-Josue Martinez, 7-Gustavo Martinez, 6-Eugenio Pizzuto
FORWARDS (5): 18-Efrain Alvarez, 9-Leonardo Correa, 10-Israel Luna, 17-Carlos Martinez, 19-Santiago Muñoz

U-15 REMATCH: The USA and Mexico met in the final of the 2017 Concacaf U-15 Boys’ Championship, also hosted at IMG Academy. Eight players return from the U.S. roster for that tournament: Axel Alejandre, Gianluca Busio, Gilbert Fuentes, Damian Las, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Gio Reyna, Adam Saldana and Joe Scally. Eight players also return from Mexico’s roster at that tournament.

Busio led the USA in scoring with five goals, while Ocampo-Chavez, Reyna and Scally also found the back of the net, while Las kept three clean sheets. The U-15s won their group with three straight wins and topped Panama 3-0 in the semifinals before falling to Mexico 2-0 in the championship match.

MEXICO’S PATH: Alongside the USA and Haiti, Mexico was one of three teams to collect all nine possible points in the group stage. El Tri topped Jamaica 1-0, downed Bermuda 5-0 and defeated Trinidad & Tobago 5-0 to claim the top spot in Group E.

In the Round of 16, Mexico faced a tough challenge from Puerto Rico, trailing for most of the first half before coming away with a 2-1 victory. Mexico rolled El Salvador 5-1 in the quarterfinals to clinch a World Cup bid, then battled Haiti to a narrow 1-0 win in the semifinals.

Mexico has won seven Concacaf U-17 Championships and is aiming for its fourth straight confederation title.

After a busy year of programming in 2018, the Concacaf Championship represents the U-17s’ third event of 2019. Last year, the team went 9-4-4 as it faced off against 11 different nations. The U-17 MNT’s last international competition came at the 2018 Nike International Friendlies last December. There, the USA went undefeated in three tightly contested games against Portugal, Turkey and Brazil.

Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2002 are eligible for the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, and head coach Raphael Wicky called in 16 players born in 2002 and four born in 2003.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: This year marks the 19th Concacaf championship at this age level. Started in 1983, the regional competition sends four teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

The top three teams from each group qualify to the Round of 16. Four teams – Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico – advanced directly to the Round of 16 from a pre-tournament qualifying phase. The four tournament semifinalists earn berths to the U-17 World Cup.

In the group stage, the USA was drawn against Canada, Barbados and Guatemala. The top 16 teams in the Concacaf U-17 ranking were drawn into the main group stage, while the bottom 19 teams duked it in a pre-qualifying tournament for four Round of 16 berths.