SALOU, Spain (May 9, 2022) - A hat trick from 18-year-old midfielder Jonah Meyer-Crothers helped lift the U.S. Para Men’s National Team to a convincing 3-0 win over perennial 7-a-side powerhouse Netherlands in the IFCPF World Cup Quarterfinals on Monday afternoon. The win sends the USA to the World Cup semifinals for first time in program history and sets up a match-up against 2019 World Cup runner-up Ukraine on Thursday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m. ET (live on https://www.esportplus.tv/home).
Meyer-Crothers scored just before the half on an excellent individual effort, curled in a beautiful free kick just after the break and put the match away in stoppage time on a first-time hit inside the box. The victory was the USA’s first against one of the early dominating nations in the discipline, as the Netherlands have won three gold medals in 7-a-side at the Paralympic Games.
After conceding first in the first two matches, U.S. head coach Stuart Sharp placed heavy emphasis on the team reversing the trend. The players responded by controlling the match from the get-go in a 60-minute display of total soccer.
While the PNT kept the Orange on their heels for much of the first half, the Dutch kept their shape and held firm. The break would finally come in the 25th minute when Meyer-Crothers took on and beat four defenders in tight space before ripping a powerful left-footed shot past goalkeeper Damian Schellekens for his second goal of the tournament.
The youngster doubled the lead early in the second half. Dutch defender Daan Dikken was shown a caution for tripping the USA’s Cameron DeLillo just outside the box, and Meyer-Crothers stepped up and curled in a left-footed shot around the wall and past Schellekens’ lunging save attempt.
The Netherlands nearly pulled one back ten minutes later. USA goalkeeper Sean Boyles fouled Sem van Helden in the box, but made up for the miscue with a foot save of Jeroen Schuitert’s penalty kick attempt.
With the Dutch throwing numbers forward, the USA continued threatening with counters, as captain Josh Brunais and second-half substitute Shea Hammond twice came close to adding the third. Hammond would then set up the clinching goal in stoppage time with a driven pass from the right into the area that Meyer-Crothers put away first-time for his third goal of the match.
Up next for the USA is the semifinal against perennial power Ukraine - which swept Group D and has outscored its opponents 22-1. Ukraine defeated Ireland 5-1 in Monday’s other quarterfinal. Currently the top-ranked team in the tournament and No. 2 in the IFCPF world rankings behind Russia, Ukraine has won three of the last four gold medlas at the Paralympic Games and has finished in the top three in 10 straight world competitions since 2003. The teams last met in the group stage of the 2017 IFCPF World Championship in Argentina, a 2-0 victory for Ukraine.
- U.S. PARA MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Para Men’s National Team vs. Netherlands
Date: May 9, 2022
Competition: 2022 IFCPF World Cup
Venue: Futbol Salou Sports Complex
Kickoff: 9:30 a.m. ET (3:30 p.m. local time)
Weather: 72 degrees; Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
NED 0 0 0
USA - Jonah Meyer-Crothers 25th Minute
USA - Jonah Meyer-Crothers 32
USA - Jonah Meyer-Crothers (Shea Hammond) 60+1
USA: 1-Sean Boyle (12-Marc Estrella, 60+2), 5-John Sullivan (2-Kevin McCandlish, 58), 7-Adam Ballou (8-Drew Bremer, 50), 10-Ben Lindau (3-Jacob Crumbley, 60+2), 11-Jonah Meyer-Crothers, 13-Josh Brunais (Captain), 9-Cameron DeLillo (14-Shea Hammond, 50)
Substitutes: 4-Chileshe Chitulangoma, 6-Jake Kaplan
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp
NED: 16-Damian Schellekens (1-Stefan Boersma, 56), 2-Guido Floors (4-Lorenzo Calkhove, 47), 3-Bruno Hoek, 6-Jeroen Schuitert, 7-Jeroen Seadt (13-Harm Panneman, 56), 10-Luc Pierre (12-Sem van Helden, 42), 14-Daan Dikken (Captain) (11-Malik de la Cruz Victoria, 47)
Substitutes: 5-Jochem Kintz, 8-Tom van Reusel
Head coach: Stephan Lokhoff
NED - Daan Dikken (caution) 31st minute
NED - Joroen Schuitert (caution) 53’
Referee: Ross Haswell
Assistant Referee: J Olle
Assistant Referee: V Garcia
Fourth Official: Scott Henry