Philadelphia Union U17s win 2023 Generation adidas Cup


For the second time in club history Philadelphia Union claimed the U17 Generation adidas Cup, defeating FC Dallas by a 1-0 margin on Sunday evening in Florida.

Devon DeCorte provided the winning goal, converting from the penalty spot for the second time in the knockout rounds.

The victory is a special one for this Union Academy collection of players, with the majority of the squad claiming the second trophy of their amateur careers after winning the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup at the U17 level last summer. This year's U17 team adds their names to the Union's 2012 squad as GA Cup Champions, with the previous edition led by current Union manager Jim Curtin, USMNT goalkeeper Zach Steffen and Zach Pfeffer, the first homegrown in Union history.

This years U17 final saw the top two Academies in North America square off with defense and depth on display all over the pitch.

Tobias Nubbemeyer turned in a lineup that had FC Dallas perplexed with the Union slotted to start off in a 4-5-1 formation. Within 30 seconds though the Union shifted to their 4-4-2 diamond and got to work with freedom allowed to USMYNT forward CJ Olney to float where he was needed. Setting up the opening goal in the semifinal against LAFC, Olney produced the first chance of the contest floating a volley to the far post where Sal Olivas headed it on frame but couldn't beat the keeper.

Onley played a crucial role in the Union grabbing the first half lead as he struck a header at the far post the was stopped by a FC Dallas handball. Devon DeCorte stepped up the penalty spot and unleashed a blast that beat the keeper to put the Boys in Blue ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute of play.

FC Dallas had an opportunity to tie things up in the 32nd minute after they drew a foul just outside the box to set up a free kick. Goalkeeper Andrew Rick set the wall perfectly to force a curling shot for the upper 90 where Rick snagged out of the air easily.

In the second half the Union brought on David Vazquez in place of Andrew Craig to push for an insurance goal. Once again it was Olney causing issues for the Texas side, racing up the right side and trying to bend a curler inside the top corner but had too much mustard on it. Vazquez got his first opportunity of the match in the 38th minute, cutting through a trio of Dallas defenders with a darting run that ended with a deflected shot collected by the keeper.

In the 41st minute, Dallas went direct in the attack with a long diagonal pass to switch their attack but the Union defense stood compact as the opposition tried to tie things up after a series of corner kicks. The defense became offense in the 43rd minute with a clearance turning into a breakaway chance for Olivas. Collecting it near the center stripe, the Union forward turned into a full sprint to get into the box and battled a defender from behind to slot a shot that looked destined for goal but was stopped by a kick save.

With the opposition pushing numbers in search of an tying goal, counter attacking back the Union's offense with Vazquez putting on a skills moves clinic in the 45th minute. Taking a pass from the opposite sideline floated by Olney, the Union winger went 1v1 against the FC Dallas right back and got into the box with moves that would make Ilsinho and Joaquin Torres smile. Unlocked in the 18-yard-box, Dallas went to ground to cut down the move and timed it just right to prevent a shot or concede a second penalty.

In the 57th minute, Vazquez helped the Boys in Blue gain a man advantage taking a pass near the center stripe and putting his marker in a spin cycle. FC Dallas' chose to go for the ball and missed, with the referee issuing a second yellow card to the player to force the Texas side to find a tying-goal with just 10.

Just like in their semifinal clash against Los Angeles FC, the Union defense faced wave after wave as the opposition looked to extend the contest. In the 64th center back Neil Pierre went body to body with the target forward near the end line, staying right on the line to avoid a foul while winning possession. Moments later it was Gavin Wetzel picking up a key block as Dallas tried a shot from long range.

Seven minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the 70-minute final. Daniel Krueger put his body on the line just into the start of the period, making a diving block to deny a shot. The rebound bounce back to the Texas side but a rushed shot put it wide of Rick.

In the final seconds, FC Dallas threw one more attack at the Union defense with a threaded ball cutting through the box and to the back post. Rick cut down the angle to block the shot and draw the foul to start the celebrations at IMG Academy.

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