The U.S. Women’s National Team (4-3) is booking their tickets to the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 after winning 1-0 against Japan (5-2) and advancing to the gold medal match tomorrow. The Men’s National Team (5-3-1) is just one win away from securing their spot in Rio as well after they lost 3-6 to Finland (7-1-1) and will play in the bronze medal game.
Before the Women’s game, coach Ken Armbruster said his team’s key to success against Japan was going to come down to defense and not giving up any penalties. Both proved true as Team USA did not commit a penalty against Japan. Their defense was flawless as well, earning the team’s first shutout of the tournament.
“Our philosophy has never changed. It’s always defense first and then capitalize on the mistakes,” Jen Armbruster said.
The US took the lead 90 seconds into the game and held on to a 1-0 lead until Japan gave up a high ball penalty with 3:47 to play in the game. Team USA converted the penalty and punched their ticket to Rio with a final score of 2-0 over the reigning Paralympic champs.
The USA Women take on Russia (5-1-1) tomorrow 5:20 am ET. Russia defeated Team USA on Monday during the first match of the tournament 0-3.
“We’re evenly matched, we’ve played them a lot this year. We know it’s going to be another tough game tomorrow,” Armbruster said.
The U.S. Men’s National Team lost in their semifinal game in a rematch against Finland, 3-6.
Finland scored first within the first 40 seconds of the game but the U.S. was able to quickly even the score. Finland scored again with four minutes left to play in the half and the U.S. again tied the score 2-2 heading into halftime.
Finland scored three more in the second half before the U.S. was able to answer with four minutes left to play, bringing the score to 3-5. The U.S. could not sustain the offensive momentum and gave up another goal off a penalty to finish the game.
“It’s a good team we just played. The general skill level they brought…they had the home crowd and the momentum going for them,” Tyler Merren said.
But the Men’s National Team has another game to play and a chance to win a medal and secure their spot in Rio against Lithuania (6-2-1) tomorrow.
“Overall we like the situation that we’re in. There’s 12 teams that wish they could be in our situation right now. It’s disappointing that we’re not in the gold medal match but we’re still competing for a medal and we’re appreciative of that,” Merren said.
Lithuania lost 4-14 against Brazil in their semifinal match today. Team USA takes them on at 3:50 am ET tomorrow.
Both games will be streamed live Link will open in a new windowhere. Go USA!