MLS: Young talent shines in opening rounds of playoffs

MLS. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
MLS. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The young talent in MLS has been on full display in the playoffs

It has been a strong showing from the young talented players in Major League Soccer so far in the 2020 playoffs. There have been multiple teenage players contributing goals for their respective clubs. A few of these goals have proving to be crucial in helping their teams reach the next round of the postseason. Here’s a look at the three young players who have already scored a goal in this year’s edition of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

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Ricardo Pepi

The FC Dallas striker scored a massive goal against the Portland Timbers as time was running out in the second half for Dallas to level the scoreline. After entering the match in the 85th minute as a second-half substitute, Pepi stepped on the field and made an instant impact.

At just 17, Pepi scored a memorable goal for Dallas and showed tremendous composure to score late in the match. His first playoff goal was certainly a crucial one as Dallas went on to win the match in the penalty shootout where Pepi successfully converted his attempt.

Gianluca Busio

Busio’s first career playoff match for Sporting Kansas City couldn’t have gone much better. The 18-year-old registered a goal and an assist to help his club advance to the next round as they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes. Busio’s goal was scored late in the second half to give SKC a brief lead before the Earthquakes tied things up in the final minute of stoppage time. The match ended up going to a penalty shootout which SKC would win to advance to the next round.

If SKC continues to advance in the playoffs, Busio will likely play a key role in getting the club to the MLS Cup final. The American midfielder appears destined to become one of the next big talents to make a move to a top European league. If he can continue to produce performances as he did against the Earthquakes his value will only rise.

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Caden Clark

The New York Red Bulls young talent scored his first postseason against the Columbus Crew. Although the Red Bulls did not advance to the next round of the playoffs, they should be very encouraged by the performance of Clark. The 17-year-old finishes the season with three goals in eight appearances for the Red Bulls. He will certainly be one of the young players to watch next season as the 2021 campaign will be his first full season in MLS.