SAN LUIS, Argentina (September 13, 2017) – The U.S. Paralympic National Team turned in another dominating performance to defeat Northern Ireland, 5-0, at the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships. The group stage victory, coupled with Ukraine’s 8-0 victory over Australia, secures a spot in the tournament’s knockout round and in the 2019 IFCPF World Cup.
A barrage of three USA goals in two minutes blew the game open as captain Kevin Hensley earned a single-minute brace in the 17th and defender Adam Ballou added a score in the 19th. Forward Cameron DeLillo and midfielder Andrew Bremer also netted in the second half to secure the victory.
It was a back-and-forth contest in the early going. The U.S. had the better of the attack, but the Northern Irish defense and goalkeeper Christian Canning held strong against the USA offense’s first attempts.
In the 17th minute, the floodgates opened. A methodical build-up found Hensley near the top corner of the box, and he rocketed a shot past Canning to put the U.S. on the board. In the same minute of action, Bremer found Hensley again and he knocked in his second goal of the day. After several early scoring opportunities, PNT newcomer Nick Mayhugh dished to Ballou in the 19th, who scored the USA’s third goal in two minutes.
Just after the half, DeLillo scored his third goal of the tournament off of another assist from Mayhugh. DeLillo and Ballou now lead the team in scoring in Argentina, each with three goals.
As the match wore on, a frustrated Northern Ireland side created several chances, but the U.S. successfully parried its efforts. Hensley put his name on the scoresheet once more just before the final whistle, finding Bremer for a 55th-minute goal.
While the U.S. secured advancement to the knockout round, the team will play one final group stage match on Friday against world No. 1 Ukraine (3 p.m. ET, YouTube), the reigning Paralympic champ. The USA will play in a quarterfinal match on Monday against the first or second-place team from Group C, either the Netherlands or England.
The eight teams that advance to the knockout round qualify to the 2019 IFCPF World Cup as the tournament’s top-8 finishers. The World Cup represents this Paralympic soccer cycle’s most important competition.
U.S. Paralympic National Team Match Report
Match: United States PNT v. Northern Ireland PNT
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Competition: 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships
Venue: Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ART (3:00 p.m. ET)
Weather: 50 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 2 5
NIR 0 0 0
USA – Kevin Hensley 16th minute
USA – Kevin Hensley (Andrew Bremer) 17
USA – Adam Ballou (Nick Mayhugh) 19
USA – Cameron DeLillo (Nick Mayhugh) 35
USA – Andrew Bremer (Kevin Hensley) 55
USA: 1-Sean Boyle (12-Marc Estrella, 43), 7-Adam Ballou, 14-David Garza, 8-Andrew Bremer, 2-Cameron DeLillo (6-Ben Lindau, 35), 15-Kevin Hensley (Capt.), 11-Nick Mayhugh (9-Seth Jahn, 38)
Subs Not Used: 3-Greg Brigman, 4-Tyler Bennett, 5-Bryce Boarman, 13-Mason Abbiate
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp
NIR: 1-Paul Cassidy, 3-Christian Canning, 4-Jordan Walker, 5-Cormac Birt (6-Timothy McClean, 57), 7-David Leavy, 11-Jordan Cush (9-Ryan Walker, 36), 14-Ryan Neal (2-Charlie Fogarty, 31)
Subs Not Used: 8-Sean Coyle
Head Coach: Mal Donaghy
Stats Summary: USA / NIR
Shots on Goal: 8/1
Corner Kicks: 9/4
NIR – Charlie Fogarty (caution) 52nd minute
Referee – Adrian Santa Santa
Assistant Referee 1 – Unknown
Assistant Referee 2 – Unknown