PREVIEW: PNT to Face South American Power Brazil in First Placement Match at World Championships

After playing one of the “best matches” in Paralympic soccer history on Monday, the U.S. Paralympic National Team is back in action on Wednesday against Brazil (10 a.m. ET, YouTube). The USA will battle it out with three teams for fifth place in the tournament, a finish that would be the team’s best at a major world tournament since taking fourth-place at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.

After a roaring start to the World Championships, the PNT has dropped two hard-fought matches to world No. 1 Ukraine and red-hot England. The USA defeated Australia 6-0 and Northern Ireland 5-0 in its first two matches before giving Ukraine its toughest test of the tournament in the teams’ group stage finale, a 2-0 Ukraine win. In the quarterfinals, the USA lost a heartbreaker, as England came from behind late to take a 2-1 lead. The English goalkeeper stopped two on-target last-minute attempts from Seth Jahn, and the PNT was sent to the placement bracket.

While the first two games showcased an explosive offense, defense has been the PNT’s hallmark in its last two matches. Goalkeeper Sean Boyle has put on two incredible performances, stopping 13 and 14 shots in the last two fixtures. Defender David Garza has also been a standout anchoring the American back line. Entering their matches against the U.S., Ukraine and England averaged over seven and eight goals per game, respectively. They were both held to just two goals against the USA.

Brazil is also coming off a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals, falling 1-0 to Paralympic power Iran after extra time. Brazil has an impressive Paralympic soccer resume itself – currently, world No. 2 and bronze medalists at the Rio Paralympics last summer. The Brazilians have a recent history of success at the international level, finishing third at the 2015 World Championships and second at the 2013 CPISRA Intercontinental Cup.

In San Luis, the Brazilians cruised through the group stage, defeating Ireland, Canada and Spain with a plus-12 goal differential. They will finish as the tournament’s highest-ranked South American team as Argentina and Venezuela will compete for ninth through sixteenth place.

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.)

BRA Roster by Last Name:

Costa Martins, Adriano; da Costa, Jan; da Silva, Ayva Bruno; da Silva, Lucas Henrique; De Oliveira, Evandro Oliveira; De Oliveria, Wanderson Silva; Ferreira, Marcos Dos Santos; Magalhaes, Ubirajara; Martins, Wesley; Moraes, Leonardo Giovani;

5th-8th Placement Schedule:

DATE

Match

Time (ET)

Venue

Sept. 20

USA vs. Brazil

10:00 a.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 20

Netherlands vs. Ireland

11:30 a.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 22

7th Place Match - (USA/BRA vs. NED/IRL)

9:00 a.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 22

5th Place Match - (USA/BRA vs. NED/IRL)

11:30 a.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes