U.S. Soccer

RECAP: PNT Falls to Ukraine 2-0 in Group Stage Finale

SAN LUIS, Argentina (September 15, 2017) – The U.S. Paralympic National Team fell 2-0 to world No. 1 Ukraine in its final group stage match of the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships. With the result, the USA will face England in Monday’s quarterfinals (11:30 a.m. ET, YouTube). Goalkeeper Sean Boyle put on a stellar performance, but the relentless Ukraine attack broke up the USA’s World Championship shut-out streak.

Boyle was called upon early and often in the first half and he rose to the occasion, making several exceptional stops. The backstop halted several Ukrainian scoring opportunities, several diving and leaping grabs kept the game close. In the 30th minute, Boyle made one of his finest saves of the match, taking on a Ukrainian attacker and snatching the ball away while the forward continued to fight for the ball. The back line of Adam Ballou and David Garza also held strong, parrying repeated Ukrainian attempts.

A big stop by Boyle and Garza gave Ukraine a corner kick in the seventh minute. The Paralympic champions capitalized on the set piece opportunity. Dmitri Molodtsov and Volodymyr traded passes before finding Artem Krasylnykov near the top right corner of the box, and he rocketed in a shot for the game’s opening score, the first goal conceded by the USA at the tournament.

While Ukraine controlled the ball for most of the half, the Americans had a handful of scoring opportunities. In the fifth minute, a nice build-up saw Andrew Bremer in front of the net, but his pass across the box, meant for Cameron DeLillo, was intercepted. In the 28th minute, captain Kevin Hensley found an open Ballou with a long up-field pass, but Ballou wasn’t able to convert the opportunity.

Boyle and the U.S. defense continued to hold tough in the second half, but in the 53rd minute, Edhar Kahramanian found a streaking Molodtsov for a one-time goal to grow the Ukrainian lead to 2-0. Once again, he U.S. was forced to primarily defend for nearly the entire half, but the team was unable to take advantage of its handful of set piece opportunities.

The knockout round begins Monday, where the red, white and blue will face surging England. Winners of Group C, the English rolled through pool play with a +25 goal differential in its three matches.

U.S. Paralympic National Team Match Report

Match: United States PNT v. Ukraine PNT
Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
Competition: 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships
Venue: Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ART (3:00 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 88
Weather: 56 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             0          0          0
UKR                             1          1          0

UKR – Artem Kraslnykov (Antoniuk Volodymyr)   7th minute
USA – Dmytro Molodrsov (Edhar Kahramanian)       53

Lineups:
USA: 1-Sean Boyle, 8-Andrew Bremer, 14-David Garza, 11-Nick Mayhugh (9-Seth Jahn, 31), 7-Adam Ballou (3-Greg Brigman, 53), 15-Kevin Hensley (Capt.) (13-Mason Abbiate, 54), 2-Cameron DeLillo (4-Tyler Bennett, 13)
Subs Not Used: 5-Bryce Boarman, 6-Ben Lindau, 12-Marc Estrella
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp

UKR: 1-Konstiantyn Symashko (12-Bohdan Kulynych, 58), 2-Vitalil Trushev (4-Taras Dutko, 31), 5-Oleh Len (14-Ivan Shkvarlo, 44), 6-Edhar Kahramanian, 9-Dmytro Molodrsov, 11-Antoniuk Volodymyr (Vitalli Romanchuk, 31), 13-Artem Kraslnykov (10-Stanislav Podolskyi, 59)
Subs Not Used: 8-Artem Sheremet,
Head Coach: Serhuu Ovcharenko

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 2/34
Shots on Goal: 0/15
Saves: 13/0
Corner Kicks: 5/6
Fouls: 1/1

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee – Unknown
Assistant Referee 1 – Unknown
Assistant Referee 2 – Unknown


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PNT Sep 15, 2017

U.S. Paralympic National Team Match Report

Match: United States PNT v. Ukraine PNT
Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
Competition: 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships
Venue: Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ART (3:00 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 88
Weather: 56 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                              0          0          0
UKR                              1          1          0

UKR – Artem Kraslnykov (Antoniuk Volodymyr)    7th minute
USA – Dmytro Molodrsov (Edhar Kahramanian)        53

Lineups:
USA: 1-Sean Boyle, 8-Andrew Bremer, 14-David Garza, 11-Nick Mayhugh (9-Seth Jahn, 31), 7-Adam Ballou (3-Greg Brigman, 53), 15-Kevin Hensley (Capt.) (13-Mason Abbiate, 54), 2-Cameron DeLillo (4-Tyler Bennett, 13)
Subs Not Used: 5-Bryce Boarman, 6-Ben Lindau, 12-Marc Estrella
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp

UKR: 1-Konstiantyn Symashko (12-Bohdan Kulynych, 58), 2-Vitalil Trushev (4-Taras Dutko, 31), 5-Oleh Len (14-Ivan Shkvarlo, 44), 6-Edhar Kahramanian, 9-Dmytro Molodrsov, 11-Antoniuk Volodymyr (Vitalli Romanchuk, 31), 13-Artem Kraslnykov (10-Stanislav Podolskyi, 59)
Subs Not Used: 8-Artem Sheremet,
Head Coach: Serhuu Ovcharenko

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 2/34
Shots on Goal: 0/15
Saves: 13/0
Corner Kicks: 5/6
Fouls: 1/1

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee – Unknown
Assistant Referee 1 – Unknown
Assistant Referee 2 – Unknown

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RECAP: PNT Falls to Ukraine 2-0 in Group Stage Finale

SAN LUIS, Argentina (September 15, 2017) – The U.S. Paralympic National Team fell 2-0 to world No. 1 Ukraine in its final group stage match of the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships. With the result, the USA will face England in Monday’s quarterfinals (11:30 a.m. ET, YouTube). Goalkeeper Sean Boyle put on a stellar performance, but the relentless Ukraine attack broke up the USA’s World Championship shut-out streak.

Boyle was called upon early and often in the first half and he rose to the occasion, making several exceptional stops. The backstop halted several Ukrainian scoring opportunities, several diving and leaping grabs kept the game close. In the 30th minute, Boyle made one of his finest saves of the match, taking on a Ukrainian attacker and snatching the ball away while the forward continued to fight for the ball. The back line of Adam Ballou and David Garza also held strong, parrying repeated Ukrainian attempts.

A big stop by Boyle and Garza gave Ukraine a corner kick in the seventh minute. The Paralympic champions capitalized on the set piece opportunity. Dmitri Molodtsov and Volodymyr traded passes before finding Artem Krasylnykov near the top right corner of the box, and he rocketed in a shot for the game’s opening score, the first goal conceded by the USA at the tournament.

While Ukraine controlled the ball for most of the half, the Americans had a handful of scoring opportunities. In the fifth minute, a nice build-up saw Andrew Bremer in front of the net, but his pass across the box, meant for Cameron DeLillo, was intercepted. In the 28th minute, captain Kevin Hensley found an open Ballou with a long up-field pass, but Ballou wasn’t able to convert the opportunity.

Boyle and the U.S. defense continued to hold tough in the second half, but in the 53rd minute, Edhar Kahramanian found a streaking Molodtsov for a one-time goal to grow the Ukrainian lead to 2-0. Once again, he U.S. was forced to primarily defend for nearly the entire half, but the team was unable to take advantage of its handful of set piece opportunities.

The knockout round begins Monday, where the red, white and blue will face surging England. Winners of Group C, the English rolled through pool play with a +25 goal differential in its three matches.

U.S. Paralympic National Team Match Report

Match: United States PNT v. Ukraine PNT
Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
Competition: 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships
Venue: Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ART (3:00 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 88
Weather: 56 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                             0          0          0
UKR                             1          1          0

UKR – Artem Kraslnykov (Antoniuk Volodymyr)   7th minute
USA – Dmytro Molodrsov (Edhar Kahramanian)       53

Lineups:
USA: 1-Sean Boyle, 8-Andrew Bremer, 14-David Garza, 11-Nick Mayhugh (9-Seth Jahn, 31), 7-Adam Ballou (3-Greg Brigman, 53), 15-Kevin Hensley (Capt.) (13-Mason Abbiate, 54), 2-Cameron DeLillo (4-Tyler Bennett, 13)
Subs Not Used: 5-Bryce Boarman, 6-Ben Lindau, 12-Marc Estrella
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp

UKR: 1-Konstiantyn Symashko (12-Bohdan Kulynych, 58), 2-Vitalil Trushev (4-Taras Dutko, 31), 5-Oleh Len (14-Ivan Shkvarlo, 44), 6-Edhar Kahramanian, 9-Dmytro Molodrsov, 11-Antoniuk Volodymyr (Vitalli Romanchuk, 31), 13-Artem Kraslnykov (10-Stanislav Podolskyi, 59)
Subs Not Used: 8-Artem Sheremet,
Head Coach: Serhuu Ovcharenko

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 2/34
Shots on Goal: 0/15
Saves: 13/0
Corner Kicks: 5/6
Fouls: 1/1

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee – Unknown
Assistant Referee 1 – Unknown
Assistant Referee 2 – Unknown


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PNT Sep 15, 2017

PREVIEW: PNT Faces Paralympic Powerhouse Ukraine in Final Group Stage Match

After a dominant start to the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships, the U.S. PNT faces its toughest test yet as it takes on world No. 1 Ukraine on Friday in San Luis, Argentina (3 p.m. ET, YouTube). The reigning Paralympic champion fresh off winning the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio is a titan of the sport; Ukraine has won every Paralympic tournament it has entered and has never been ranked below No. 2 in the world. The No. 6 USA enters with its highest-ever world ranking plus the momentum of two group stage routs and a six-match unbeaten streak.

The Yellow-Blue currently leads Group D with a plus-13 goal differential, while the U.S. is just behind at plus-11. Both squads have already clinched qualification to the knockout round and a berth in the 2019 IFCPF World Cup in Pinto, Spain, but this match will determine final group placements and quarterfinal opponents.

The PNT’s tournament run has seen contributions from across the board. The team’s four newcomers have made an immediate impact – Cameron DeLillo shares the team goal-scoring lead for tournament with Adam Ballou (both have three goals), while Ben Lindau and Nick Mayhugh have contributed three assists. PNT veterans have also made their mark on the scoresheet- 2016 Paralympic leading goalscorers Ballou and Seth Jahn (one goal, two assists this tournament) have picked up where they left off in Rio, and captain Kevin Hensley has also netted twice.

U.S. scoring has been fast and furious in Argentina. Against Northern Ireland, the USA scored three goals in two minutes- including Hensley goals in the 16th and 17th minutes. In the red, white and blue’s opening match against Australia, the team scored twice in three minutes then forced an own goal sixty seconds later.

Ukraine was the first nation in the world to sponsor a full-time residency for its Paralympic soccer team and the efforts have payed dividends. It dominated its first two matches, defeating Northern Ireland 5-0 and besting Australia 8-0. During last year’s Paralympic gold medal run, the team never trailed and never allowed more than a single goal. At the last World Championships in 2015, Ukraine only allowed two goals, finishing a run to the final with a plus-21 goal differential.

Friday’s winner will claim first place in Group D and take on the second-place team in Group C. Currently England and the Netherlands sit at first and second in Group C; their final position will be decided by their 11 a.m. clash.

PNT Roster by Position (Hometown):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Boyle, Sean (Minneapolis, Minn.), Estrella, Marc (Bakersfield, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Ballou, Adam (Virginia Beach, Va.), Boarman, Bryce (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Brigman, Gregory (Harrisburg, N.C.), Garza, David (San Diego, Calif.), Hensley, Kevin (Memphis, Tenn.), Lindau, Benjamin (Chicago, Ill.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Abbiate, Mason (San Diego, Calif.), Bennett, Tyler (Wadsworth, Ohio), Bremer, Andrew (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Mayhugh, Nicholas (Manassas, Va.)
FORWARDS (2): DeLillo, Cameron (Blandon, Pa.), Jahn, Seth (Lakeland, Fla.)

UKR Roster by Last Name:
Antoniuk, Volodymyr; Dutko, Taras; Kahramanian, Edhar; Krasylnykov, Artem; Kulynych, Bohdan; Len, Oleh; Molodtsov, Dmytro; Podolskyi, Stanislav; Romanchuk, Vitalii; Sheremet, Artem; Shkvarlo, Ivan; Symashko, Kostyantyn, Trushev, Vitalii; Zinoviev, Yevhen

Matchday 6 Schedule:

Date

Match

Time (ET)

Venue

Sept. 15

Netherlands vs. England

11:00 a.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 15

Venezuela vs. Japan

11:00 a.m.

Stadium Estancia Grande

Sept. 15

Ukraine vs. USA

3:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 15

Northern Ireland vs. Australia

3:00 p.m.

Stadium Estancia Grande

Group D Standings:

Team

W

L

D

GD

Points

Ukraine

2

0

0

+13

6

USA

2

0

0

+11

6

Northern Ireland

0

2

0

-10

0

Australia

0

2

0

-14

0

 

 


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PNT Sep 14, 2017

5 Things to Know About the 2017 World Championships

As the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team kicks off the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships on Monday, Sept. 11 in San Luis, Argentina, here are five things you should know about the team’s biggest competition since last summer’s Paralympics.

1. U.S. Against the World

The IFCPF (International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football) CP Football World Championships represents the sport’s biggest competition of 2017 and the start of a new four-year competition cycle.

MORE: 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships

All eight teams that qualified for the Paralympics earned a spot in this year’s tournament, including the USA. The other eight teams in the field come from the 2016 IFCPF World Championship Qualification Tournament.

Teams were drawn into four groups of four last month. The top two teams advance from each group to the knockout rounds, but the bottom two teams and knockout round losers will continue to play placement matches to determine third through sixteenth place.

2. Tough Draw in Group D

The U.S. was drawn into the tournament’s most difficult group by average world ranking. The team will face off against Paralympic powerhouse Ukraine as well as up-and-coming Northern Ireland and Australia.

MORE: PNT Draws Paralympic Champ Ukraine, Northern Ireland and Australia in World Championships

Ukraine is the No. 1 team in the world and the reigning Paralympic champion. Last year’s squad never trailed in Rio, finishing the tournament with a plus-13 goal differential. The team has never been ranked below No. 2 in the world.

Northern Ireland and Australia are teams poised for breakouts. The European side qualified for the World Championships with a fifth-place finish at last year’s qualifying tournament. The strongest No. 3 seed in the draw, the team features former Manchester United and national team captain Mal Donaghy on the coaching staff.

The Pararoos earned their spot in Argentina with a sixth-place finish at the qualifying tournament. Recently sponsored by an Australian health company, the team has been training together full-time and expanded their reach with new nationwide regional organization.

Here’s the slate of Group D matches:

DATE

MATCH

TIME (ET)

VENUE

Sept. 11

Ukraine vs. Northern Ireland

3:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 11

USA vs. Australia

5:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 13

USA vs. Northern Ireland

3:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 13

Australia vs. Ukraine

5:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 15

Ukraine vs. USA

3:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 15

Northern Ireland vs. Australia

3:00 p.m.

Stadium Estancia Grande

3. New Kids on the Block

Four new players join the PNT squad from last summer’s Rio roster: Cameron DeLillo, Marc Estrella, Ben Lindau and Nick Mayhugh. The quartet joins ten returning players from the Paralympics. All four earned their first caps in the team’s first match of the year, at Chile in June, and have made an instant impact.

MORE: Sharp Names Paralympic National Team Roster for World Championships

DeLillo and Mayhugh have blown up the scoresheet this summer. In four international challenge matches, Mayhugh has 5 goals and 2 assists, including the go-ahead goal in the team’s July 23 victory over Canada, while DeLillo has scored three goals and assisted on three more. Lindau has contributed on the defensive end and Estrella has spent time minding the net. 

4. Undefeated in 2017

The PNT head into the World Championships ranked sixth in the world, it’s highest spot in team history. The team has earned this position after its most successful Paralympic Games in a decade, and the U.S. has kept it rolling in 2017.

MORE: #TBT: PNT’s Road to the World Championships

The red, white and blue are undefeated through four international matches in 2017. In June, the team returned to South America for a pair of contests against Chile, as the U.S. routed La Roja 6-0 and 10-0.

In July, the PNT returned home for its first domestic challenge matches since February 2014 against Canada in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The crowd had plenty to cheer about as the team earned a 2-2 draw and a 3-1 victory over the Canucks.

5. About the PNT

The PNT is made up of players with a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy (CP), a stroke, or traumatic brain injury. While these impairments may not be immediately visible, they can impact balance, coordination and muscle function. Paralympic soccer, or CP soccer, is slightly different than the standard sport- there are only seven players a side and its played on a smaller field with games.

MORE: PNT 101: What is the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team?

Before competition, players are classified by the degree their impairment impacts their on-field performance. Teams are only allowed to have one of the least-impaired players on the field at a time and must play at least two players from the most impaired classes at all times.

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PNT Sep 10, 2017

PNT 101: What is the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team?

The U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team (PNT) kicks off the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships on Monday, Sept. 11 against Australia in San Luis, Argentina.

The squad is made up of players with a neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy (CP), a stroke or traumatic brain injury. While these conditions may not be plainly visible, they can cause balance and coordination issues as well as impaired muscle functions. The team competes around the world at international championships, invitational tournaments and challenge matches.

About the Sport

Paralympic soccer is also known as “7-a-side” or “CP” (cerebral palsy) soccer. As the first name suggests, seven players play on each team.

Rule variances from standard soccer include no offside and allowances for one-handed and underhand throw-ins if players are physically unable to execute a standard throw-in. The game is shorter, played in two 30-minute halves, and played on a smaller field with smaller goals.

Classification

The seven players on the field are regulated by classification, the degree to which their impairment impacts their performance. Players are organized into four classes from Class FT5 the most impaired, to Class FT8, the least. (FT indicates that the classification is for football/soccer as classes signify different impairments across sports). Teams must have at least two FT5 or FT6 players on the field at all times and are not allowed to have more than one FT8 player on the field.

To determine classification before competition, each player goes through athlete evaluation- a series of physical and technical assessments coupled with game action observation. This tournament’s formal classification period began on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 9. Athletes are given a pre-competition classification before the group stage that is updated after in-game observation. Depending on their classification history, athletes are noted for future review of their status or locked into a confirmed class.     

Competition Cycle

Like the rest of the soccer world, Paralympic soccer plays on a four-year competition cycle. The Paralympics have been the sport’s most important competition, and the last cycle ended last summer at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.

This year’s World Championships mark the beginning of a new competition cycle.

The next two years bring continental competition with 2018’s IFCPF Americas Cup and 2019’s ParaPan American Games.

A top-eight finish at this year’s World Championships earns a spot at the 2019 IFCPF World Cup. Paralympic soccer will not be included in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic program, so the World Cup will be this cycle’s biggest event. A new IFCPF World Top 8 Tournament will take place in the summer of 2020 to fill in the Paralympic gap.

History/Governance

The sport’s first international competition came in 1978 at the third International Cerebral Palsy Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. Four years later, the first world championships were held at the 1982 CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association) Games.

The Paralympic debut came at the 1984 Summer Games in New York and  the sport has been included on every Paralympic program since. The IFCPF (International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football) is the sport’s governing body.

The U.S. PNT at the World Championships

The PNT’s No. 6 world ranking is its highest-ever. Head coach Stuart Sharp, now in his fourth year leading the program, has named 14 players to the PNT squad for the 2017 World Championships. Ten players return from the Rio roster, joined by four new additions in Cameron DeLillo, Marc Estrella, Ben Lindau and Nick Mayhugh.

The players have overcome the challenges of their conditions to face the challenges of elite international competition. They juggle full-time careers and lives as engineers, store clerks, and students with representing their country on the pitch.

Check out below the road the U.S. PNT will take at the 2017 World Championships:

Date

Time

Matchup

Monday, Sept. 11

5 p.m. ET

Australia

Wednesday, Sept. 13

3 p.m. ET

Northern Ireland

Friday, Sept. 15

3 p.m. ET

Ukraine

Sept. 17 - 18

TBD

Quarterfinals/Second Round Placement

Sept. 19 - 20

TBD

Semifinals/Third Round Placement

Sept. 21 - 23

TBD

Final/Final Placement

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PNT Sep 9, 2017

#TBT: PNT's Road to the World Championships

Around this time last year, the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team earned its highest finish at the Paralympic Games in more than a decade. Now, the team kicks off a new cycle with its first major competition, the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships in Argentina, and highest-ever world ranking, No. 6, in PNT head coach Stuart Sharp’s first full round with the team.

Including the team’s run in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. has played six matches in South America and contested its first matches on American soil since 2014. Take a look back at how the PNT has progressed over the year in the lead up to the World Championships.

Progress at the Paralympics

 Having qualified for the Paralympics with a seventh-place finish at the 2015 World Championships, the PNT notched its best Paralympic tournament since 1996 when the team finished in seventh place, and signaled its first back-to-back qualification since 1992 and 1996.

Drawing Group B, the USA faced off against Asian powerhouse Iran, Western Europe’s top side in the Netherlands and 2017 World Championships host Argentina. The highlight of the group stage came on the opening matchday against the Dutch. Forward Adam Ballou shocked the Netherlands when he netted in the third minute to open the scoring.  The Dutch took control over the course of the game, scoring in the 44th minute to equalize and in the 57th minute to take the lead, but Ballou answered in the 60th and final minute, notching a brace to give the U.S. a 2-2 result.

In its classification match, the U.S. earned its first Paralympic win in a decade with a 2-1 victory against Ireland. The PNT captured an early lead on a Seth Jahn goal, but Ireland tied the game shortly after the half. Once again, the USA hit its stride late in the game with Andrew Bremer scored in the 56th minute.

Return to South America 

This summer, the PNT returned to South America for a pair of challenge matches against Chile in San Bernardo and Santiago. Buoyed by some new additions, the U.S. rolled in its return to the Southern Hemisphere, winning its matches 6-0 and 10-0.

The first contest saw the first caps for all four of the team’s new players: Cameron DeLillo, Marc Estrella, Ben Lindau and Nick Mayhugh. Kevin Hensley opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and the team kept rolling from there. A 2-0 halftime lead ballooned to 6-0 as DeLillo and Bremer added last-minute goals.

A few days later, the U.S. put together an end-to-end rout in its 10-0 victory. Mayhugh, who plays soccer at Division I Radford University, notched his first international goal and his first international brace. DeLillo scored his first brace in the first half. Lindau also got on the board with a 46th-minute goal. Ballou demonstrated his late nose once again with a score in stoppage time.

Homecoming

The last time the PNT played a match on home soil, it was February 2014. Sharp had just taken over the program and only four players from that squad remain on the team. That changed this July when the sixth-ranked U.S. welcomed No. 10 Canada to Lakewood Ranch, Fla. for a pair of challenge matches. Canada, also set to play at this month’s World Championships, provided an opportunity to measure the team’s progress since Rio.

As expected, the opening match proved to be tight. Canada scored in the eighth minute for an early lead, and doubled it with another goal in the 42nd. Bremer made sure that the PNT’s first deficit of 2017 didn’t last long, scoring in the 50th, and Mayhugh, entering the game as a second-half sub, delivered an equalizer in added time to maintain the team’s undefeated record.

Matchday Two brought a more complete performance from the PNT. Mayhugh picked up where he left off with a 14th minute goal, his fifth of the year. In the 44th minute, Jahn entered the match to chants of “Uncle Seth”. He gave the home crowd even more to cheer about in the final minute, scoring his first goal since the 2016 Paralympic finale.

After July’s Canada matches, the PNT has held two additional training camps to prepare for Argentina. Now, the stage is set for the team to kick off its competition cycle with 2017’s biggest event.

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PNT Sep 7, 2017
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