SALOU, Spain (May 3, 2022) - The U.S. Para Men’s National Team overcame a late two-goal deficit with stoppage-time goals from captain Josh Brunais and fellow veteran defender Drew Bremer to tie Iran 2-2 in the both teams’ first match of the 2022 IFCPF World Cup on Tuesday morning at the Futbol Salou Sports Complex. In a three-team group, the U.S. and Iran take a point each into their final group match against Australia later in the week.
Head coach Stuart Sharp fielded a strong starting seven, with goalkeeper Sean Boyle, Brunais, Bremer, Cameron DeLillo and Ben Lindau all returning from the 2019 World Cup team. John Sullivan, who was on the 2018 Copa America team, made his World Cup debut along with 18-year-old Jonah Meyer-Crothers.
Even so, the fourth-ranked Iranians had the better of play early on. Abbas Torabi capitalized after ten minutes when he picked off an errant U.S. back pass near midfield and went one-v-one against USA goalkeeper Sean Boyle, slotting the ball past for the game’s opening goal.
The rest of the half saw the U.S. gain confidence in attack and its high press, setting up a dominant second half performance. DeLillo hit the left post and was twice denied from close range, Bremer came close on a header off a corner and Lindau blasted a shot off the right post as the half wore on.
Despite the high pressure, Iran held strong and doubled their lead in the final minute of play. Again it was Torabi who was sprung down the left with a lifted ball from midfield. Sullivan did well to recover, but Torabi cut to his right and tucked a shot to the near post for his second of the day.
With play stopped a number of times to attend to Iranian players, the referee added five minutes of stoppage time and the U.S. would not concede defeat. Meyer-Crothers nearly got one back from a restart on a first-time, left-footed volley that went wide. Three minutes later, the youngster found Brunais just inside the top of the box and the experienced defender put a right-footed shot on frame that eluded Iranian goalkeeper Moslem Khazaeipirsarabi.
Less than a minute later, Meyer-Crothers won a ball at the top of the box and passed back to Brunais, who slipped a pass into the area for Bremer. With his back to goal, Bremer turned to his preferred left foot and placed the ball inside the far post to complete the comeback.
The match was the third between the teams in the last two World Cups - all three decided late. The two sides also opened the 2019 World Cup group stage with Iran taking a 2-0 lead, only for the U.S. to come back and win it 3-2 on a last-minute goal. They met again in the 5th/6th place game, where Iran won 4-3 in overtime.
The U.S. will now meet Australia on May 7 for the chance to advance to the quarterfinals. The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET and can be watched live at https://www.esportplus.tv/home.
- U.S. PARA MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States ParaMen’s National Team vs. Iran
Date: May 3, 2022
Competition: 2022 IFCPF World Cup
Venue: Futbol Salou Sports Complex
Kickoff: 3:30 a.m. ET (9:30 a.m. local)
Weather: 62 degrees; Cloudy; on-off rain.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
IRN 1 1 2
IRN - Abbas Torabi 12th minute
IRN - Abbas Torabi 60’
USA - Josh Brunais (Jonah Meyer-Crothers) 60+3
USA - Drew Bremer (Josh Brunais) 60+4
USA: 1-Sean Boyle, 5-John Sullivan, 8-Drew Bremer, 9-Cameron DeLillo, 10-Ben Lindau, 11-Jonah Meyer-Crothers, 13-Josh Brunais (Captain)
Substitutes: 12-Marc Estrella, 2-Kevin McCandlish, 3-Jacob Crumbley, 4-Chileshe Chitulangoma, 6-Jake Kaplan, 7-Adam Ballou, 14-Shea Hammond
IRN: 13-Vahid Navvab (1-Moslem Khazaeipirsarabi, 31), 2-Yaser Rostami, 4-Shahab Rahimikandoleh, 5-Benham Arandi (6--Farzad Mehri, 31), 10-Abbas Torabi, 11-Ehsan Masoumzadeh (9-Saeid Faraji, 31), 12-Hassan Safari (Captain)
Substitutes: 3-Shamseddin Shahvazikeivanani, 7-Mehdi Bakhshi,
Head coach: Amin Allahmani
Referee: Akmaljon Rahimov
Assistant Referee: A. Berzosa
Assistant Referee: G. Romero
Fourth Official: Dario Maximiliano Rojas