The U.S. Under-20 National Team will return to action on Wednesday, with two Chicago Fire homegrowns, Chris Brady and Brian Gutiérrez, leading the charge. The U.S., who won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in dominant style this past summer, are continuing their preparations for the 2023 U-20 World Cup with the Revelations Cup invitational tournament in Mexico City.
Chris Brady backstopped the run through CONCACAF in June and July and was named the tournament’s Golden Glove winner. Throughout the knockout rounds, the U.S. didn’t concede a single goal, and breezed past Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic earning them qualification for the 2023 U-20 World Cup and 2024 Olympics in Paris. The 18-year-old Brady has been a standout player in MLS Next Pro for Chicago Fire II this season and has been the undisputed best goalkeeper in that league in 2022.
Brian Gutiérrez was not made available for that tournament by the Fire, but he is viewed as one of the top attacking options in the pool, and head coach Mikey Varas had no hesitation in bringing him back into the fold this fall. Guti has had something of a breakout season for the Fire and signed a new four-year contract this week, keeping him at the club at least until 2026. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder was in every U-20 camp of the last year for the U.S. with the exception of the CONCACAF Championship. He has appeared in all but one of the Fire’s matches this season and has recorded 1 goal and 3 assists.
The Revelations Cup
This year’s competition will be the second annual edition of the Revelations Cup, which is a friendly competition organized by the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). Though El Tri spectacularly failed to qualify for both the U-20 World Cup and Olympics thanks to a loss to Guatemala at the CONCACAF Championship, the tournament will proceed, with Peru and Paraguay making up the rest of the field. It will be contested in a round-robin format; each team will play each other once.
Expectations for the U.S. youth national teams are at an all-time high given the success at the regional championship last summer, and the “Baby Nats” are viewed as a potential contender for the U-20 World Cup title. The team that dominated in the qualifiers was missing several key contributors, and many of those names return to the fold for the Revelations Cup. Aside from Gutiérrez, young stars like Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Jonathan Gómez (Real Sociedad), Justin Che (Hoffenheim), and Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United) re-enter the fold for this camp after missing the CONCACAF Championship to remain with their clubs.
Will Guti and Brady start?
Brian Gutiérrez certainly has a chance of earning the starting job, but he will have tough competition. He will be pushing for a spot in the starting eleven up against Quinn Sullivan and Diego Luna, both of whom had impressive showings last summer, as well as Kevin Paredes and Caden Clark, who have been in senior USMNT camps in the past. Guti has been an impact player for the group in the past, and even if he can’t push the highly-rated Quinn Sullivan out of the lineup, he will still surely be an important impact player off of the bench.
As long as Gaga Slonina is not with the U-20 group, Chris Brady is clearly established as the #1 goalie. Gaga played with the U-20s at last year’s Revelations Cup but has only been with the senior national team since. For Brady, the U-20 national team has been his best platform to showcase himself as a top goalkeeping prospect, as Slonina has had the spotlight on him with the Fire for the past year and a half.
How to watch
The United States will face Peru on September 21st (4 PM CT), Mexico on September 24th (6 PM CT), and Paraguay on September 27th (9 PM CT).
The Revelations Cup will be streamed on VIX and will be available free of charge.