Efrain Alvarez scored two goals and added as many assists, as Mexico rolled past Solomon Islands 8-0 on Sunday, clinching the final spot in the 2019 U-17 World Cup’s Round of 16. It was the first win for El Tri, who drew against Paraguay and lost against Italy in stoppage time to start the tournament.
The Los Angeles Galaxy winger, who reappeared on Mario Arteaga’s XI after starting on the bench against Italy, has scored three goals in three games, and stands only a goal behind the tournament’s current leading goalscorer, Australia’s Noah Botic.
Born in Los Angeles, California to Mexican parents, Alvarez originally began his youth international career representing the U.S. U-15s in 2016, only to make a switch to the team south of the border months later. The fallout between the player and the U.S. happened after they decided to omit him from a camp for “whatever reason,” Alvarez’s former coach, Mike Munoz, said.
In 2019, the 17-year-old assumed a first-team role in Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s Galaxy, appearing in 14 regular season games and assisting on three occasions. Speaking to ESPN’s Tom Marshall in September, Alavarez stated that “the focus right now is Mexico,” amid interest from the U.S. men’s national team, specifically from coach Gregg Berhalter.
The focus will have to remain Mexico, who travel to Brasilia to take on Group D winners Japan on Wednesday.
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