The Generation adidas Cup is currently running through its paces in Frisco, which means dozens of the world’s top academies are mingling with their MLS cousins. It’s something of a bellwether tournament for MLS, especially with the likes of Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt in attendance. Win games, prove you’re on the up-and-up, and on it goes.
And the returns to date have been… less than stellar.
MLS results against foreign opposition in the second tier Premier Division have been mixed but not entirely derisive. An MLS academy occupies the top spot in three of the four groups, and there have already been some impressive triumphs over foreign competition. The Union dropped Monterrey 2-1, the Sounders claimed a win over Pumas by the same scoreline, and the Earthquakes managed to brush aside the vaunted Chivas academy 1-0 on Sunday. All in all, MLS teams in that division are a respectable 4-4 against foreign teams.
The Champions Division has been slightly more of a challenge. MLS U17 teams are, at present, 0-8 against teams from abroad. As in, zero wins, eight losses. Not great, Bob.
In any case, we’re going to turn away from that particular division for the sake of our collective sanity and bring you a couple brief flashes of brilliance from the Premier Division. NYCFC’s been a mighty interesting watch this tournament, precisely because the academy plays a lot like its older brother under Patrick Vieira: out of the back, patient, smart and incisive. As a result, the NYCFC U17s currently have a group-leading five points and already have wins over the Sounders and Costa Rican power producer Saprissa.
The latter game was a masterclass in finishing, and No. 10 Giovanni Reyna led the hit parade. Reyna is, of course, the son of Claudio, and he pulls the strings for this NYCFC side as the No. 10. He enjoyed a rampant performance in the 2-0 win over Saprissa, including this ridiculous free kick to give NYCFC the only goal it’d need.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 9, 2017
The second goal in that clip belonged to Velkjo Petkovic, a Serbian national with a U.S. green card and a mountain of talent. That chip was carved out of a hunk of pure sparkling marble.
In any case, if the Champions Division is getting you down, just rewind those two plonkers. There are worse things to do with your day.