Championship Day games will be played at Talen Energy Stadium (1 Stadium Dr., 19013), home of the Philadelphia Union, on Saturday, October 13.
Third place game: #14 Ireland vs. #8 USA
Both Ireland and USA find themselves playing on championship Saturday for the first time in the history of the tournament, though not in the game they both hoped for. The two teams lost at La Salle during their semifinal matches. They were able to keep up and play tough, but ultimately each fell to the two former champions of the Unity Cup.
Heading into their third place match-up, the two teams are looking to put huge numbers up on the scoreboard at Talen Energy Stadium.
Team Ireland, led by Liam O’Donnell, has had trouble scoring lately. Their only goals in the last two games came from O’Donnell, so if Coach Pat Henigan wishes to put up a crooked number on the scoreboard, Liam is going to need help. Teammate Matt Poole, who was absent in the team’s loss to Ivory Coast, will complement O’Donnell well and take some of the pressure off of him if he is in attendance for the match-up.
Team USA has been led by a single goal scorer in their last two games as well. Blake Fink has scored USA’s only goals since the round of 16 and is going to need some help. Padraic McCullaugh was USA’s leading goal scorer throughout the tournament, but has been a non-factor since the knockout rounds started in late August. USA will need both McCullaugh and Fink to play well and gamble up front if they wish to put a big number up on Ireland.
In the end, we see this game being very close and coming down to not just goal scoring, but also the level headedness of the team. Our guess is that USA will come out victorious, but Ireland will put up one heck of a fight.