3rd Place Game Recap: USA vs. Ireland
In a much-anticipated matchup, the move from inside Talen Energy Stadium to the practice fields outside played a huge role in the outcome of this game. Word of the change in location spread to the Ireland roster, causing players to not show up.
This change of plans forced Coach Pat Henigan to suit up and play decent minutes for Team Ireland, which Team United States took advantage of. USA had an almost full roster and dominated the whole match.
Championship Game Recap: Liberia vs. Ivory Coast
In the rematch of the first championship game and the battle of the two former champions, we arguably had the best game of the tournament. Before the match, four players from Ivory Coast were suspended due to card accumulation and red cards obtained in the semifinals. With missing players, plus an early injury to Seydou Ba, one would expect Ivory Coast to fall short against the defending champs. Instead, Ivory Coast took an early lead on a penalty kick in the third minute, which sparked the team and its fans.
Liberia did its best to halt the celebration, with goals from Liberia’s Anthony Allison in the 8th and 28th minutes. The score remained 2-1 until Kouassi N’Guessan of Ivory Coast found the back of the net in the 77th minute, excitingly knotting the score at 2-2. Ivory Coast fans had little time to celebrate; another Ivory Coast goal came from Bill Walleekindeh, giving them the lead again with only minutes left to play.
With Liberia now in full attack mode, they made many goal-scoring attempts before Eugene Dennis finally scored in the 89th minute to tie the game and force extra time. In the 14th minute of overtime, Liberia’s goal came from a less likely player: Joe Joe Jappah scored his first and the most important goal of the tournament at the most crucial time for Liberia.
The crowd erupted, Liberia’s bench poured onto the field, and Ivory Coast looked deflated. Last-second attempts came up short, and Liberia defended their crown as Unity Cup Champions.
Liberia was faster, stronger, smarter, and coached better than any team in the tournament—and it showed on Championship Day. Their composure and resilience on the field helped propel them to another Unity Cup championship. We congratulate Team Liberia on a well-deserved championship!