The Concacaf U-20 Championship came to its conclusion on Sunday with the United States claiming the tournament trophy for the third consecutive edition.
USMNT U-20 goalkeeper Chris Brady excelled as one of the top players at the tournament, winning the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper. The Chicago Fire academy product helped the Americans total six shutouts in seven matches, conceding only two goals in his six starts in Honduras.
The Dominican Republic and Houston Dynamo 2 goalkeeper Xavier Valdez helped his country qualify for both the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics after finishing as runners-up behind the USMNT.
Wilfredo Rivera, Ian Silva, and Brian Flores all featured in the Round of 16 while several other players featured in the knockout round.
Here is a closer look at the MLS Next Pro players who impressed at the Concacaf U-20 Championship:
Chris Brady, Chicago Fire FC II, United States
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team goalkeeper Chris Brady excelled in Mikey Varas’s side, winning the Golden Glove as the best shot-stopper in the tournament. Brady, 18, totaled 14 saves in the tournament, leading the Americans to the best defensive record in the competition.
After an impressive first competitive tournament with the USMNT U-20’s, Brady will be glowing with confidence as he heads back to the Chicago Fire with hopes of playing regularly.
Antonio Carrera, North Texas SC, United States
Antonio Carrera registered one clean sheet in group stage play for the Americans, totaling two saves in a 10-0 opening day win over Saint Kitts and Nevis. The North Texas SC did earn an opportunity off of the bench in Sunday’s 6-0 finals win over the Dominican Republic, celebrating with his teammates at the final whistle.
Now he returns to NTX aiming to help the Western Conference club remain in the playoff picture.
Xavier Valdez, Houston Dynamo 2, Dominican Republic
Xavier Valdez and the Dominican Republic’s Cinderella run at the Concacaf U-20 Championship came to an end on Sunday, but the program still defied many odds in Honduras this summer.
For the first time in their history, the Dominicans will be going to the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the Summer Olympics, a huge testament to the spirit and fight in the current U-20 squad. Valdez started in three of the Dominicans' four matches this summer, posting a clean sheet in a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Jamaica.
Molik Khan, Trinidad & Tobago, MNUFC2
Molik Khan finished the tournament as the best goalscorer among MLS NEXT Pro players, totaling two goals in Trinidad & Tobago’s run to the Round of 16. Khan, 18, scored in back-to-back matches for the Soca Warriors, finding the back of the net against Suriname and Costa Rica.
Khan has already earned five caps with the Trinidad & Tobago senior team and now is pushing for consistent minutes with MNUFC2 in MLS NEXT Pro.
Ben Alexander, Whitecaps FC 2, Canada
Although Canada’s quest of reaching the U-20 World Cup fell short, Ben Alexander raised eyebrows with his impressive outings in Honduras.
Alexander, the Whitecaps FC 2 shot-stopper, totaled 15 saves through his 390 minutes of action, with eight of those coming against the United States in a 2-2 group stage draw. The 18-year-old was one of the top performers for Canada in the tournament and will head back to a Whitecaps FC 2 side that is pushing for playoff involvement.
Alejandro Cano, Earthquakes II, El Salvador
Alejandro Cano was the anchor of El Salvador’s backline in the Concacaf U-20 Championship which is a promising sign for the young defender’s future.
Cano, 17, started in all four of El Salvador’s matches in the tournament, helping La Selecta claim the top spot in Group G. El Salvador only conceded two goals in the group stage before eventually falling 5-4 to tournament finalists Dominican Republic in the Round of 16.
Wilfredo Rivera, Orlando City B, Puerto Rico
Wilfredo Rivera and his two MLS NEXT Pro teammates (Ian Silva, Orlando City B, and Brian Flores, NYCFC II) all started in Puerto Rico’s 6-0 Round of 16 defeat to Mexico. Rivera totaled 90 minutes from an attacking position while Flores played 82 minutes and Silva played 52 minutes respectively.
All three players had short involvement in the knockout stages but did earn valuable experiences for their careers.