U.S. Cerebral Palsy Soccer Team Defeats The Netherlands 5-0
NOTTINGHAM, England (Friday, July 29, 2001) - The 12-member United States Cerebral Palsy Soccer Team downed the Netherlands today, 5-0, to complete first and second round group play in the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) World Games in Nottingham, England. The U.S. will now face Australia on Saturday in a match to decide the fifth place finisher in the 14-team tournament.
After advancing out the first round after a 0-0 tie with Portugal (on July 22) and 2-0 loss to a powerful Iranian team (on July 24), the U.S. team dropped consecutive games to the Ukraine and Brazil, before rebounding on Friday against Holland. Against the Ukraine on Tuesday, the U.S. faced a tough opponent (who appear headed to the final) failing to score in a 5-0 defeat.
On Thursday the U.S. took the field against Brazil, and actually grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second half before watchign the talented Brazilians rally for a 3-1 win. The lone U.S. goal came when after Eli Wolff took a pass down the right wing behind the Brazilian defense and slipped a ball into the middle of the field to Josh McKinney who eluded his defender and smashed a shot into the back of the net. The U.S. has not beaten Brazil since the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, losing to the them in the 1998 World Championships and the 1999 Pan American Games.
A fifth-place showing by the U.S. could help the team earn valuable qualification points on the road to the next Paralympic Games in Athens 2004. The tournament in Nottingham, with 14 participants, is the largest CP soccer tournament to date. The seven-a-side teams play on a field with smaller dimensions under slightly modified FIFA Laws of the Game.