KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Oct. 1, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s Deaf National Team overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit and utilized a second-half brace from Emily Spreeman to earn a dramatic 2-1 comeback win against Poland and claim top spot in Group A at the 2023 DIFA Women’s Deaf Football World Championships on Sunday. The victory sets up the USDWNT with a semifinal showdown against England on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 a.m. ET at Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium with a place in the final on the line.
Already guaranteed a top-two finish in the group and the with the team playing in the late afternoon heat for a fourth consecutive match, head coach Amy Griffin made six changes to the lineup that faced England on Friday in a rematch of the 2022 Deaflympics Final that was won by the USA on penalty kicks.
Poland, who were also a perfect 3-0-0 coming into the match, provided the U.S. with a much tougher test and the game didn’t present a clear-cut chance until the 23rd minute. Following a sustained build-up out of the back, Paris Price settled the ball at the top of the area and laid it off for Erin Cembrale who looped an effort from 25 yards that beat Poland ‘keeper Lidia Maziarz, before clanging back off the crossbar.
Fifteen minutes later Emma Neff received a throw in on the right from Gracie Fitzgerald and quickly crossed for Emily Spreeman. The tournament’s leading goal-scorer did well to settle the ball on the bounce with her right, before a toe poke with her left again had Maziarz beat before pinging the top side of the crossbar and going out for a goal kick.
Poland remained composed after the two near U.S. chances and took the lead in the 41st minute when Taegen Frandsen came to claim Agnieszka Bockowska’s free kick from 40 yards out, but didn’t get a clean grab on the ball and saw it trickle over the goal line.After rallying at halftime, the USA found the equalizer in the 56th minute. Holly Hunter showed great vision in picking off a pass on the right side of midfield and immediately made a driving diagonal run before finding Spreeman on the left. The lead U.S. striker crept unmarked into the box and tucked a low, left-footed effort inside the right post for her tournament-leading 10th goal.
The USA took the lead seven minutes later when Ani Khachadourian picked out Spreeman’s run up the left and fed her into the box with a beautifully weighted through ball the Poland defense. Spreeman sped into the area and this time slotted her effort inside the near post for her 11th of the tournament.
Firmly in the lead, the U.S. asserted its control during the last half hour and saw out the 2-1 win, moving to an incredible 36-0-1 record since 2005.
In the day’s other match, Turkey defeated Japan 4-0 to claim third place in the group.
NEXT UP: As top seed in the group, the USA will face fourth-seeded England in the semifinals on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Kickoff of USA-England is set for 8:30 a.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local) from Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium and is expected to be streamed live via the Malaysia Deaf Sports Association’s YouTube Channel.
The winner of the match will face the winner of the other semifinal between Poland and Turkey to be played at 4:30 a.m. ET (4:30 p.m. local) on Tuesday.
- The USDWNT finishes the group stage with a perfect 4-0-0 record, having tallied 23 goals and conceded just one.
- The team improved to 36-0-1 in 37 matches since 2005.
- Emily Spreeman leads all players at the tournament with 11 goals in four matches.
- In total, eight players found the back of the net for the USA during the group stage: Spreeman (11), Holly Hunter (3), Casey King (2), Sophie Post (2), Sydney Andrews (1), Erin Cembrale (1), Emma Neff (1), Faith Wylie (1). There was an additional own goal that was recorded in the match against Turkey.
- Eleven players have registered assists so far: Gracie Fitzgerald (3), Emily Spreeman (3), Holly Hunter (2), Paris Price (2), Kate Ward (2), Faith Wylie (2), Paige Beaudry (1), Ani Khachadourian (1), Casey King (1), Mia McMurry (1), Sophie Post (1).
- Having both played two matches during the group stage, the goalkeeping duo of Payton DeGraw and Taegan Frandsen have combined for three clean sheets in four matches.
- Four players have played all 360 minutes of the tournament thus far: Sydney Andrews, Paige Beaudry, Gracie Fitzgerald, and Emily Spreeman.
WATCH: USDWNT 2, Poland 1 | Oct. 1, 2023
- U.S. WOMEN’S DEAF NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT -
Match: USA Women’s Deaf National Team vs. Poland
Date: October 1, 2023
Competition: 2023 DIFA Women’s Deaf World Championships
Venue: Kompleks Sukan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kickoff: 4:30 a.m. ET (4:30 p.m. local)
Weather: 92 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
POL 1 0 1
POL - Agnieszka Bockowska 41st minute
USA – Emily Spreeman (Holly Hunter) 56
USA – Emily Spreeman (Ani Khachadourian) 63
USA: 1-Taegen Frandsen, 3-Paige Beaudry, 5-Gracie Fitzgerald, 6-Mia McMurry (24-Holly Hunter, 41), 8-Erin Cembrale (14-Paris Price, 66), 9-Ani Khachadourian (2-Kate Ward, 74d), 10-Emily Spreeman, 11-Sydney Andrews (capt.), 16-Emma Neff (12-Sophie Post, 46), 17-Mia White, 18-Faith Wylie (22-Nikki Kohen, 66)
Subs not used: 21-Payton DeGraw, 4-McCall Madriago, 7-Sabina Shysh, 13-Ashley Derrington, 15-Beth Barbiers
Not dressed: 23-Casey King
Head Coach: Amy Griffin
POL: 1-Lidia Maziarz, 2-Izabela Kuzniak, 5-Kinga Urbaniec (17-Ewa Liscioch, 67), 6-Paulina Prusinowska, 9-Agnieszka Bockowsca, 10-Marta Kaczmarczyk (16-Aleksandra Szot, 86), 13-Wiktoria Aumiller (4-Karolina Kuba, 87), 14-Oliwa Gala, 15-Paulina Suchorowska, 20-Agata Murawska, 21-Justyna Siwek
Subs not used : 7-Klaudia Lasicka, 11-Clarissa Toma, 12-Joanna Kaczmarczyk, 22-Julina Kopinska
Head Coach: Piotr Ozóg
Stats Summary: USA / POL
Shots: 8 / 8
SOG: 4 / 3
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 5
Offside: 1 / 2
POL - Agnieszka Bockowska (caution) 80th minute
Referee: Nurul bintl Nuraddin
Assistant Referee 1: Abdul Halim Mohamad
Assistant Referee 2: Shahidan Mohd Adnan
Fourth Official: Nurul Ain bin Zamal