SYDNEY (Feb. 5, 2023) - The U.S. Men’s Cerebral Palsy (CP) National Team and host Australia played to a scoreless draw before a festive 1,027 fans at Cromer Park in northern Sydney on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The match, which was broadcast live locally on Channel 10 and streamed internationally, closed out a successful week down under for the CP MNT, which defeated the Pararoos 4-0 in a ‘B’ International and 2-0 in a first-team friendly earlier in the training camp.
The hosts played off the crowd’s energy and had the better of chances early in Saturday’s tightly-contested marquee match-up. Connor Dunce nearly put Australia ahead after ten minutes when he broke past the USA defense. U.S. goalkeeper Sean Boyle came off his line and outside the box to force Bunce into a decision. Bunce took a touch to his left, but his shot on the empty net from a tight angle went wide.
Australia’s David Campbell had a similar play late in the first half, with Boyle again reading the break and stepping out. Campbell attempted to shoot but Boyle was up to the challenge and blocked the shot with his trailing leg.
The USA flipped the script for the entire second half, but could not get past goalkeeper David Barber. USA defender Frankie Lowery tested the veteran Pararoo with a shot from 20 yards that Barber got down to save. Shea Hammond was there for the rebound, but Barber got up quickly and also saved the follow-up attempt from close range.
Minutes later, Josh Brunais hit a solid left-footed shot through traffic but Barber saw it just in time and made a diving, finger-tip save for a corner kick. Jonah Meyer-Crothers’ set piece was brought down by John Sullivan but his shot clanked off the crossbar. Hammond was again there for the rebound but Barber recovered to make another save.
Brunais tested Barber again shortly after and was again denied, and Lowery’s attempt off the rebound went wide.
Boyle was tested once more late and he came through again with an acrobatic swat of a hard shot from Bunce.
The USA kept the pressure on in the final minutes, with Wesley Pincince’s long-range shot tipped over the crossbar and Meyer-Crothers' attempt from 10 yards going narrowly wide for the last good chance on goal.
Up next for the CP MNT is a domestic camp in Chula Vista, Calif. in March as the team continues preparing for the 2023 Parapan American Games, which will be played in Chile this fall.
- In Tuesday’s ‘B’ International, which was played in three 20-minute periods, Jacob Crumbley put the USA ahead in the second with a nice finish of a pass from Kevin McCandlish before Ethan Haussmann doubled the lead with a solo effort. Drew Bremer extended the U.S. lead in the third with a left-footed blast to the far upper corner, and Crumbley closed out the 4-0 win by converting a penalty kick after Shea Hammond was taken down in the box.
- The teams’ played an official - though closed-door - match on Thursday, with the USA scoring in first and second half stoppage time to claim the 2-0 victory. Minutes after replacing an injured Jacob Kaplan, Crumbley put the U.S. up with a nifty redirect in front of goal of a long pass from Bremer as the first-half clock wound down. Goalkeeper Sean Boyle helped maintain the lead with a fantastic late diving save of Daniel Campbell’s shot heading for the top corner, and Hammond secured the win with a cut-back and clinical finish from the top of the box in the final minute. Wes Pincince and Frankie Lowery made their official USA debuts as second-half substitutes.
- U.S. MEN’S CP NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Men’s Para National Team vs. Australia
Date: February 4, 2023
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Cromer Park
Kickoff: 11:00 p.m. ET, Feb. 3 (3:00 p.m. local time)
Weather: 78 degrees; sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
AUS 0 0 0
USA: 1-Sean Boyle, 3-Jacob Crumbley (14-Shea Hammond, 29), 5-John Sullivan, 10-Frankie Lowery, 11-Jonah Meyer-Crothers, 13-Josh Brunais (Captain), 16-Wesley Pincince
Substitutes: 12-Hugo Koramansky, 2-Kevin McCandlish, 4-Chileshe Chitulangoma, 6-Jake Kaplan, 7-Kyle Montgomery, 9-Drew Bremer, 9- Michael Ruiz, 15-Ethan Haussmann
Head Coach: Stuart Sharp
AUS: 7-David Barber, 2-Ben Roche, 3-Taj Lynch, 4-Alessandro la Verghetta, 5-David Campbell, 10-Connor Bunce, 17-Kaylan Van Heer (12-Benjamin Sutton 47; 12-Rafferty Bacon 57).
Substitutes: 1-Christian Tsangas, 6-Timothy Blowes, 8-Riley Stubing, 9-Luc Launder, 14-Augustine Murphy, 15-Noah Bremmer-Bell, 16-Joshua Beekes, 18-Christian Bitsikas
Head coach: Kai Lammert
Referee: Wayne Crabb
Assistant Referee: Mark Sayer
Assistant Referee: Dale Bromfield
Fourth Official: Dale Fruda