There will be no repeat champion in 2017! Sierra Leone made sure of that in dramatic fashion as they scored on the final penalty kick to knock off defending champ Ivory Coast. Liberia, last year’s runner-up, is looking for a repeat trip to the championship after they defeated Germany. Even though they finished with the #3 overall seed, it still comes as a bit of a shock to see Puerto Rico in the semifinals, but they managed another strong performance in their win over Senegal. Jamaica rounds out the semifinals after they completely dominated Italy, outshooting them 22-6.
Check out predictions for the semifinal match-ups below; both games will be held at the South Philly Supersite (11th & Bigler St, 19148) on Sunday, October 29.
#1 Sierra Leone vs. #13 Jamaica – Sunday, 2pm
This is an interesting match-up of a high-powered offense versus a stout defensive team. Jamaica has dominated all of their opponents in terms of shots on goal, but isn’t converting at a high rate. Sierra Leone has given up a grand total of two goals over the course of five matches to date. Jamaica will need to strike early to loosen up the Sierra Leone defense. The likes of Facey, Sayers, and Scott will need to continue their scoring ways to get past Sierra Leone. Expect Sierra Leone to handle the runs that come at them from Jamaica and counter with a goal or two in the second half for a trip to the championship.
#3 Puerto Rico vs. #19 Liberia – Sunday, 5pm
The defending runners-up look for a return trip to the title game, but a determined and motivated Puerto Rico team stands in their way. Don’t let the #19 seed fool you, Liberia may very well be the most complete team remaining in the tournament, mostly because they have the deepest bench. Puerto Rico counters with some quick goal scoring and stellar goalkeeper play on their side. The difference in this one comes in control of the midfield; keep an eye on #10 Daniel Yallah from Liberia who can control the middle, but also slide up and be the goal scorer they lack with their top scorer out for the rest of the tournament. Puerto Rico will battle for 90-plus minutes, but Liberia’s talent runs too deep. Looks like the second year of an all-West African championship.