U-20 USYNT Players That Have Impressed in the CONCACAF Championships


USYNT celebrating after 2-0 win versus Costa Rica - USYNT via Instagram

The USYNT U-20's are into the CONCACAF Championship Semi-finals after defeating Costa Rica to qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.


This year's squad is full of MLS first-team talent from across the league, but there have been a few standout performers during the tournament who have stood out from the rest.


Here are the players that have caught my eye and who I think are on track for a successful club season:


CADE COWELL

San Jose Earthquakes - 18 years-old


Cowell is the Earthquake's key attacking player at only 18 years old. His frame and athleticism is the most impressive part of his game and has been on full display in this tournament.


He is the best player in the USYNT squad at running at defenders with pace and strength. This was highlighted in the 2-2 draw versus Canada as he sprinted down the left wing before chopping inside and finishing in the bottom corner to draw the U.S. level.


Cowell's unique play-style and athleticism reminds me of Adama Traoré and a young Gareth Bale. His production of goals and assists lacks in club football because of the struggling state of San Jose's form, but I would not be surprised to see a transfer to a better club in the future.


PAXTEN AARONSON

Philadelphia Union - 18 years-old


The crucial centerpiece in playmaking for the USYNT comes from Paxten Aaronson. In my opinion, he has been the most talented player in the squad. In all of the matches thus far in the tournament, Aaronson has stood out as the best playmaker and chance-creator.


Most recently, Aaronson recorded a brace versus Costa Rica in an impressive performance. A goal five minutes into the first half and four minutes into the second half displayed why he is such an electric and clinical attacking midfielder.


Other than his statistics, Aaronson likes to show his fiery side by getting into some confrontations with the opposition defenders. This is a product of how frustrating he is to defend on and off the ball.


I believe that more of an important role will be waiting for him at Philadelphia Union after proving that he is another level above most of his competition at the U-20 level.


Like his brother Brenden, there could be a move to Europe from Philly in his future.


Mauricio Cuevas

Club NXT - 19 years-old


Cuevas was a player that I did not know of entering into this tournament. I was pleasantly surprised by his talent from full-back. His captaincy for the USYNT in the CONCACAF matches validates how he plays on the field.


Cuevas is a solid defender when isolated one-v-one. Paired with his defense, he has very reliable passing in tight spaces as well as with switching the field. At the right time, he can burst up-field with a controlled dribble.


His current club Club NXT is the reserve team for Club Brugge which sets up a nice path for him to be promoted to the first team in due time.


With the semi-final versus Honduras later tonight, these three players will be the ones to look out for.


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