PNT Claims 3-2 Comeback Win vs. World No. 2 Brazil in World Championships Placement Match
USA Will Face Winner of Netherlands-Ireland in Fifth-Place Match
SAN LUIS, Argentina (Sept. 20, 2017) – The U.S. Paralympic National Team advanced to the fifth-place match of the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships after a rousing 3-2, comeback win against world No. 2 Brazil. A blustery day saw the Brazilians jump out to an early 2-0 lead despite being a man down due to a red card infraction, but goals from Seth Jahn, Nick Mayhugh and Adam Ballou gave the USA a victory over the 2016 Paralympic bronze medalists.
Players faced winds of up to 35 miles per hour, and tensions whipped up early as Brazilian Diego Delgado was shown a red card in the fifth minute after shoving Mayhugh as he made a dangerous run. But with a man down, Brazil scored a minute later to take an early lead. The Brazilians netted again in the 10th minute, as Banjara Magalhaes found a streaking Adriano Costa Martins on the counterattack to extend their 2-0 lead.
The U.S. PNT’s comeback began in the 24th minute, as Kevin Hensley launched a cross from the half line to Jahn, posted on the left side of the net, who battled a defender to hit a one-time header, but Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos Dos Santos Ferreira slid in front of the shot. The ball rebounded right back to Jahn and he launched it over the still-kneeling ‘keeper inside the far post.
After the half, switching sides put the wind at the USA’s back and it filled the sails of the PNT comeback. Mayhugh, the team’s top scorer in its lead-up to the World Championships, had been relatively quiet during the tournament run in Argentina; but, in the 32nd minute, he scored his first goal in a major international competition at a crucial juncture. Andrew Bremer hit him with a pass at the top of the box and Mayhugh launched a rocket into the far side to equalize.
Having proven that he has a nose for the goal in the biggest moments, Ballou clinched the victory for the PNT. In the 35th minute, Brazil cleared a Jahn throw-in to a waiting Bremer at the top of the penalty circle. He found a leaping Ballou perched at the right post and the 2016 Paralympics veteran headed it home to give the USA the 3-2 win.
With the victory, the U.S. moves on to the fifth-place match, where it will face the winner of today’s second tie between the Netherlands and Ireland. The PNT will have a chance to claim its best finish at a major world competition since the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games when it finished fourth. Jahn, Mayhugh and Ballou will miss the team’s final fixture due to yellow card accumulation as the trio picked up cautions today and Monday against England.