Paxten Aaronson won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot. (USA TODAY Photo)
The U.S. Under-20 men’s youth national team routed the Dominican Republic 6-0 in the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship Final on Sunday evening at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Having already secured berths to the 2023 U-20 World Cup and 2024 Olympic Games, the USA scored three goals in each half and posted its sixth shutout to win its third consecutive regional title at this level after taking home its first two Concacaf championships in 2017 and 2018.
Goals from Tyler Wolff, Paxten Aaronson and Noah Allen put the U.S. ahead comfortably by halftime, while Aaronson, Jack McGlynn and Niko Tsakiris added three more after the break to secure the largest margin of victory in Concacaf U-20 Championship Final history.
Aaronson finished with a tournament-high seven goals to capture the Golden Boot and also won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s Best Player. Chris Brady won the Golden Glove as the Best Goalkeeper of the competition.
Despite making six changes to the starting XI that defeated Honduras in the semifinal, the U.S. showcased the depth of its roster as the U-20s again started on the front foot from the opening whistle and kept it going for 90 minutes.
The first clear chance came in the eight minute, when Alejandro Alvarado Jr. went deep in the U.S. end to collect a ball and sent a 45 yards pass over the top towards forwards Caden Clark and Wolff. It fell closer to Wolff, who took one touch and ripped a shot from just inside the box, but Dominican Republic goalkeeper Omry Bello read the play developing and came off his line to be in position to make the reaction save some 16 yards away from goal.
The USA found the breakthrough in the 17th minute when Wolff headed in Jackson Hopkins’ cross from six yards out. The lead was almost doubled minutes later when Aaronson skillfully lifted a short ball to Tsakiris, who chest-trapped it with his back to goal from the left side and hit a mid-air volley off-target.
In a display of its first-half dominance, the USA nearly completed a 29-pass sequence that spanned two minutes with a goal as Aaronson slipped Hopkins into the right side to the area. The D.C. United forward would cut to his left and shoot, but Bello came up with the big save.
The Dominican Republic threatened in the 33rd minute when Thomas Jungbauer played a ball deep into the USA end. A miscommunication allowed Angel Montes de Oca to win the ball and hit a strong right-footed volley from 17 yards that Brady dove to his left to save.
The USA scored twice within minutes, as Aaronson finished off a nice pass from Diego Luna and Noah Allen hit a powerful shot that deflected off a defender and in for his first goal of the tournament, becoming the 13th U.S. player to score in the competition.
The second half saw much of the same U.S. dominance. Substitute Jack McGlynn finished a quick combination when he played wall-passes with Hopkins, Aaronson and Tsakiris before scoring his second goal of the tournament.
Two minutes later, Aaronson finished a quickly taken free kick by Brandan Craig to take the team and tournament lead with his seventh goal.
Bello made some fine saves of shots from Neal and Caden Clark in the 60th minute, but the USA added a sixth goal seconds later when Tsakiris finished a pass from Clark from seven yards to complete the scoring.