Californian helps Mexico beat USA in Concacaf U-15 Championship final

By Mike Woitalla

Los Angeles Galaxy academy star Efrain Alvarez, who earlier this month signed a USL contract with Galaxy II, set up Mexico’s first goal in a 2-0 win over the USA in the Concacaf U-15 Championship final.

Alvarez, a Los Angeles native who turned 15 on June 19, was part of the USA’s U-15 national team when it went to Argentina in April of 2016. On that trip, during which Coach Dave van den Bergh’s team went undefeated, Alvarez started all three games, scored in a 2-0 win over Uruguay, and scored twice and assisted twice in a 5-1 win over Club Atletico Talleres.

However, Alvarez took part in Mexico’s U-15 national training camp in September and rejoined it for the Rimini Cup in Germany last June. In July, he scored in the U-17/18 Development Academy quarterfinal, semifinal and final as the Galaxy finished runner-up to Texans SC Houston.

Last weekend, Alvarez entered the Concacaf U-15 Championship final 10 minutes into the second half of the 70-minute game, and with his first touch delivered a free kick from midfield that soared over U.S. goalkeeper Damian Las to Jorge Garcia, who headed home.

Ronaldo Zinedin added El Tri’s second goal two minutes into stoppage time. Mexico completed the tournament without conceding a goal while scoring 15. The USA had outscored its first four foes, 15-1, before getting shut out by El Tri.

Mexico’s Arturo Delgado was named top goalkeeper of the tournament while Garcia was named MVP. Mexico also won the Fair Play Award.

Efrain Alvarez (far left, No. 15) celebrates Mexico's title. (Photo courtesy of Concacaf)

Road to the Final:
Mexico 5 Honduras 0
Mexico 4 Panama 0
Mexico 1 Jamaica 0
Mexico 3 Canada 0

USA 2 Canada 0
USA 6 Trinidad & Tobago 0
USA 4 Costa Rica 1
USA 3 Panama 0

Aug. 19 in Bradenton, Fla.
USA 0 Mexico 2
Goals: Jorge Garcia 57, Ronaldo Zinedin 72+.
USA -- Las, Scally, Judge, Alejandre, Bello, Saldana, Reyna, Atencio, Fuentes, Busio, Gaines. Subs: Stroud, Nielsen, Ocampo.
Mexico -- Delgado, Vilches, Garcia, Gomez, Ruiz, Mariscal, Corona, Ortega, Gamez, L.Correra, Tellez. Subs: L.Martinez, Alvarez, Hernandez, O.Correra, LC.Martinez.

USA scorers at Concacaf U-15 Championship
5 Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City)
2 Giovanni Reyna (New York City FC)
2 Julian Gaines (Lonestar SC/Austin)
1 Joseph Scally (New York City FC)
1 Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders)
1 Cesar Garcia (FC Dallas)
1 Mason Judge (Chargers SC/Tampa)
(U.S. opponents scored two own goals)

* * * * * * * * * *

Roster: U.S. U-17 boys national team head to Prague

Six weeks before the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India, Coach John Hackworth’s team will compete at the Vaclav Jezek Youth Tournament in the Czech Republic, where it will in group play face Hungary (Aug. 22), Russia (Aug. 23) and Japan (Aug. 24), in a addition to a final placement game

“Following our two recent domestic training camps, this tournament will challenge our team with four tough international matches in five days,” Hackworth said. “We were able to get almost all of the players we requested released for this trip, so that will help us as we continue to prepare for the World Cup in India.”

Six players on the 22-man roster for the Czech tournament were not part of Hackworth’s qualifying squad: Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United academy), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC academy), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy academy), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy academy), Alejandro Pereira (Orlando City academy) and Jacobo Reyes (Monterrey/MEX).

Newcomers break into U.S. U-17 boys squad By Paul Kennedy
• In 2015, Coach Richie Williams took 19 of the 20 players he had in qualifying -- every player except McKinze Gaines -- to Chile to the Under-17 World Cup.

U.S. U-17 boys roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (Benfica/POR), Justin Garces (Atlanta United academy).
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United academy), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls academy), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC academy), James Sands (New York City FC), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC academy), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers academy).
MIDFIELDERS (7): George Acosta (North Carolina FC academy), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake academy), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy academy), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached).
FORWARDS (6): Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy academy), Alejandro Pereira (Orlando City academy), Jacobo Reyes (Monterrey/MEX), Josh Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri), Timothy Weah (Paris SG/FRA).

7 comments about "Californian helps Mexico beat USA in Concacaf U-15 Championship final".
  1. don Lamb, August 21, 2017 at 7:17 p.m.

    I hope he comes back into the US squad, but we'll be fine without him if he doesn't.

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 22, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    Geez, why the name calling. You think US Soccer is doomed because a 15 year old chose to play for Mexico?

  3. Rankin S, August 21, 2017 at 8:25 p.m.

    Alvarez is one of at least a couple of players in the article who played from a young age for Coach Kleiban.
    Spend the money on Coaches who have proven they develop players to play at this level. And maybe get a commitment to playing for US before the all expense paid trip to Costa Rica...

  4. R2 Dad replied, August 22, 2017 at 1:28 a.m.

    It's hard to know if that would have made a difference in him staying or going. From what I remember of the parents I spoke to at a Kleiban practice, many of these hispanic parents didn't have many resources, worked multiple jobs, and in some cases were driving up from as far away as san diego 4 times per week to near downtown LA, just so their kid could train with Kleiban. And of course, LA is Mexico 2.0 so the pull from south of the border is strong. From the LA perspective, training in LA (and getting paid/compensated) and playing for EL Tri is the dream.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 22, 2017 at 9:39 a.m.

    I'm not crystal clear on the rules but as long as they are eligible for both teams I don't think there is a way to get a commitment, or "cap tie" a player until he plays a competitive game for the senior team. So no real way to do it for a kid this young. On the plus side, I think he can still switch back the US.

  6. Goal Goal, August 22, 2017 at 1:14 p.m.

    I will tell you that this kid who left on his own and several others who were left behind for whatever reason would have made a difference. Alvarez is a game changer.

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