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Sounders U17s repeat as GA Cup champions

Sounders beat the academy for Liga MX’s Tigres in the final.

After years of struggling to be competitive in their own tournament, the Seattle Sounders Academy became the first MLS-affiliated club to win the Generation Adidas Cup in 2019. The next two tournaments were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With an entirely new roster of players, the Sounders U17s have repeated as champions.

The final victory was possibly their most convincing, as the Sounders scored a comprehensive 2-0 decision over the academy for Liga MX’s Tigres UANL on Sunday.

The Sounders opened the scoring with a 32nd minute goal from Chris Aquino, whose left-footed shot from about 25 yards out seemed to fool the Tigres goalkeeper and beat him near post.

It only took 25 seconds after halftime for the Sounders to add a second when Alex Hall — who also assisted on Aquino’s goal — found Etienne Veillard streaking behind the defense. Veillard’s hard shot snuck past the Tigres goalkeeper.

The Sounders finished the tournament without allowing a goal in any of their final six matches and outscored their opponents 5-0 in a knockout stage that included wins over such highly-acclaimed academies as the Philadelphia Union, CF Monterrey, Inter Miami and Tigres. The Sounders also beat the academies for Austin FC and Santos Laguna in the group stage after falling to Charlotte FC in a penalty shootout in their opener.

Given that sparkling defensive record, it was hardly surprising that Wyatt Nelson was named the tournament’s top goalkeeper and centerback Stuart Hawkins was named the MVP. Nelson has already made his professional debut with the Tacoma Defiance while Hawkins has been playing with the United States U17 team. Aquino led the Sounders with four goals in the tournament, while Veillard added three.

Notably, the Sounders’ final three wins came without the help of their only first-team player and hold-over from the 2019 squad, Reed Baker-Whiting, who was sent home early in order to play for the Tacoma Defiance on Sunday.

The Sounders now have the second most GA Cup Championship Division trophies with two, one behind Argentina’s River Plate, who won three straight from 2015-17. England’s Stoke City (2014) and Brazil’s Flamengo (2018) are the other winners.