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U15 Concacaf Championship Tournament Review

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August 2023
The United States capped off a perfect 6-0-0 record at the Concacaf U15 Championships with a 4-2 win against rivals Mexico in the finals. The United States overwhelmed their opponents throughout the tournament, outscoring their opponents 26 to 5. After a tight 1-0 win against Haiti in the semi-finals, they played an excellent first 45 against Mexico and then held on for the last 25 to take the trophy.
Source: Concacaf — Left to right: Julian Hall, Omar Marquez, Isaac Tortola, Jamir Johnson, Gio Villa and Jude Terry

Tournament analysis

Overall you have to say the tournament was a success. All 18 players were able to play a significant role throughout the tournament and when you go 6-0-0 and outscore your opponent 26-5, you are going home happy.

I was critical of coach Tom Heinemann's decision to rotate the squad in the semi-finals against Haiti. It was an ugly match that saw the United States squeak out a 1-0 win, but he got many of his first choice guys some rest and it paid dividends in the final. The boys looked fresh, tenacious and played a really good first 45 minutes.

Throughout the tournament the United States made their opponents uncomfortable with their high press and relentless desire to win the ball back whenever they could. On the ball they played at their best in transition. Whenever they were able to connect two to three passes in transition, it seemed to lead to numerical advantages and big opportunities.

Defensively, the full-backs, specifically Villa and Alvarado, were lockdown defenders. Both Terry and Doran did a great job of disrupting and interrupting in the midfield. The center-backs struggled at times with their high line positioning and clearing at times, but were good in duels and distributed well from the back.

The biggest weakness of the tournament was set play defending. They gave up way too many dangerous opportunities and goals throughout the tournament and they didn't seem to adjust well as the tournament went along.

Individually, there were many standout performances. The players of the tournament for me were Jude Terry from LAFC and Jamir Johnson from the Philadelphia Union. Terry was such a steady and calming force in the midfield, reminiscent of how Pedro Soma played in the U17 Concacaf Championships.

Johnson was the most consistent attacker all tournament. He pressed well and got the ball in dangerous positions. He attacked defenders one on one with success and showed great vision and precision passing the ball. He also got in dangerous positions off of the ball, which helped him score a lot of goals.

Cavan Sullivan was also excellent. He was the catalyst for the first two goals against Mexico, assisting on both and he was tenacious on defense.

Other standouts include Gio Villa, Miguel Alvarado, Isaac Tortola, Ramiz Hamouda, Owen Pratt, Julian Hall and Chase Adams, who led the team in goals with five.

The final goal scoring count for the United States: 

Chase Adams: 5
Jamir Johnson: 4
Julian Hall: 3
Cavan Sullivan: 3
Tanner Rosborough: 3
Omar Marquez: 2
Luca Moisa: 2
Isaac Tortola: 1
Jude Terry: 1
Sebastian Chavez: 1
Adrian Sanders: 1

What's next?

This team was made up of primarily 2008 born players with the exception of Cavan Sullivan who was born in 2009. The next competitive tournament for this age group will be the U17 Concacaf Championship, which will likely take place in late 2024 or early 2025. That is a qualifying tournament for the 2025 U17 World Cup. This class will build up towards that event through camps and friendlies over the next two years.

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