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ATLANTA, GEORGIA—One of the top young stars of the United States Men’s National team soccer roster (USMNT) has won the 2021 Major League Soccer Young Player of the Year on Thursday.
FC Dallas star Ricardo Pepi got the award for leading his club with 13 goals and added three assists in 31 games, including 24 starts.
The 18-year-old USMNT star recorded his first MLS hat trick against the LA Galaxy on July 24 and scored twice in games against the New England Revolution (June 27) and Austin FC (Aug. 29).
Pepi received 39.47% of the votes from MLS players, technical staff, and media members. Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan was the runner-up at 31.1%.
Pepi has produced 15 goals and four assists in 55 matches (28 starts) since making his MLS debut in 2019.
On November 16, USMNT settled for a draw against the home team Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in Kingston.
The USMNT started strong in the game as Timothy Weah tiptoed through the Jamaican defense to open the scoring for the U.S., finishing from a tight angle after an impressive, unassisted run into the hosts’ penalty area.
However, the USMNT was not able to sustain their momentum and allowed Jamaica to score an equalizer in their game.
One of the members of the USMNT in this qualifying match is Atlanta United FC top defensive specialist Miles Robinson.
Robinson has 14 caps and three goals with the USMNT, earning his senior team debut on Sept. 6, 2019, in a friendly against Mexico. He made his first start and scored his first international goal in a 7-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 31, 2021. Robinson started all six matches and scored two goals at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup where he helped the U.S. secure five clean sheets and scored the game-winning goal in the final to defeat Mexico 1-0. The 24-year-old was also recently named to his first MLS All-Star team and has started 14 of his 15 MLS appearances in 2021.

By bob

A veteran soccer journalist who is an avid fan of Atlanta United and Lionel Messi.

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