2024 MLS NEXT Cup: Which teams made the finals?


Sunday’s finals for the 2024 MLS NEXT Cup are set. Drama and heroics dominated the semifinals over the past two days.

Here’s a look at how things played out in all four age groups.


U.S. youth internationals Darris Hyte and Robert Turdean helped Chicago Fire FC into Sunday’s title game at the youngest age group. Hyte scored two goals and Turdean created one in a 3-1 win against FC Cincinnati.

Cincinnati forward Jared Cardenas opened the scoring. In the second minute, he perfectly timed a run in behind, finishing to give his side an early lead.

Hyte tied the game in the 35th minute. He held off a challenge from a defender and finished nicely after a flick over the top from Harrison Bernhardt. Emiliano Chavez put the Fire in front in second half stoppage time after a great run and cross from Leon Smars.

With FC Cincinnati pressing forward, Hyte scored a second after a magical, mazy run from Turdean, sealing a spot in the final.

The LA Galaxy will meet Chicago on Sunday at GEODIS Park. Goals from Aaron Medina and Max Steelman were enough, as the Galaxy held on for a 2-1 win over Atlanta United. LA took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break, before Ignacio Suarez-Couri pulled one back in the 56th minute. Atlanta pushed and pressed forward for a second, but the Galaxy defense held firm.


Michael Capretto continued to shine for FC Delco, bagging a brace to help defeat the Philadelphia Union, 4-1.

The talented forward provided a game-changing moment in the seventh minute, as his run in behind earned a red card from Union defender Andrei Chirila, Capretto scored in the 25th and 38th minute to put Delco up at the half.

Seamus Lennon extended the lead with a dynamic run and finish early in the second half, before Bryan Perez added another from the penalty spot. Gabriel Wesseh converted a penalty in stoppage time to account for the Union’s lone goal.

A brace from Real Colorado forward Owen Anderson powered his side to a 3-1 defeat of St. Louis CITY SC. Tomi Giwa slipped Anderson in behind for his first in the 28th minute. On the second, he recognized space and headed home a cross to extend the lead.

After the break, Giwa’s corner was diverted into the goal to make it a 3-0 lead. Lorenzo Cornelius scored the long St. Louis goal, converting a penalty late in the second half.


After a shootout decided this year’s Generation adidas Cup final between the LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union, it was only fitting to see history repeat in Friday’s MLS NEXT Cup semifinal.

Goals and dramatics ruled the day in this meeting between two of the top academy teams. Mason Vanney put the Galaxy in front in the first half, and LA looked to lock things down from there.

The Union had other ideas, ramping up the pressure and creating numerous chances. A giveaway at the back opened the door for Anisse Saidi to score the equalizer in the second half. Neil Pierre nudged the Union back in front, heading home from a corner kick. Just when it looked like the Union would triumph, Ruben Ramos tied the game in the 90th minute, sending it to spot kicks where the Galaxy prevailed, 5-3.

Drama dominated the second matchup, as Charlotte FC defeated LAFC, 2-1. Nimfasha Berchimas, who joined up with the team for Friday’s semifinal, scored the winner in stoppage time.

LAFC scored first, as James Arteaga tallied in the 10th minute. From there, Charlotte FC grew into the game, piling on pressure. It wasn’t until the 62nd minute that the equalizer came. And it came in spectacular fashion as Rocket Ritarita collected a pass at the top of the box and picked out the top corner.

That set the stage for Homegrown signee Berchimas, who slotted home on a counter attack to win it.


A magical goal from Matteo Salcedo punched a spot in the final for Strikers FC. The SoCal club is no stranger to the business end of the season, and defeated tournament darlings Triangle United, 1-0, in the semifinals.

Salcedo volleyed home the game’s only goal, as a corner kick was cleared into his path in the ninth minute. A stout Strikers FC held firm, and a matchup against Cedar Stars Academy-Bergen awaits.

The New Jersey side advanced on the back of a 2-1 win against Breakers FC in Friday’s other Under-19 semifinal. Frankie De Francesco continued to showcase his goal-scoring prowess. De Francesco opened the scoring in the eighth minute, making a good run that was spotted by Ransford Gyan. In the second half, he doubled the lead, scoring from a corner kick.

Neo Ruiz, who hit the post with a beautiful shot in the first half, pulled one back in the 71st minute for Breakers who weren’t able to secure a second.