IC17 Preview: Matchday 5

Generally speaking, three isn’t a terrible number. It’s company, it’s a part of a full house, and it’s how many movies are in most trilogies.

In the context of the final game of this 2017 AFL International Cup, however, it’s not an ideal number for the USA Freedom and USA Revolution; they’d rather be playing tomorrow at the MCG and Etihad Stadium for first place, rather than at Royal Park for third place, but considering the number of teams behind them that stumbled in their own attempts to get to the big stages, three isn’t all that bad.

Both teams will look to finish with wins; the Freedom looking to continue with their streak of ICs with a winning record, while the Revos, at 3-1, try to become the first American team to get through an International Cup campaign with only one loss.

USA FREEDOM (2-2) v GREAT BRITAIN SWANS (2-2) – Women’s Division 3rd Place Game
McAllister Oval, Royal Park, Melbourne, Australia
Friday, August 18, 12:30pm (Thursday 10:30pm EDT/7:30pm PDT)

It is a battered and bruised Freedom team that comes into their third place game showdown with GB Swans, who impressed many in their International Cup Debut.  With Hallie Kastanek and now Brette Brower out, Meg Leone shouldered the responsibility of being the primary ruck and did well in relief against Canada.  Still, the Freedom are eager to finish out their campaign here in Melbourne with a win, and while a third consecutive third-place finish at the IC is not what they would have wanted, a winning record isn’t a bad souvenir to take back home.

The Swans play a similar style to Ireland, but are known as well-rounded side. They’re here playing for third place after surrendering a five point lead in the final minutes of their semi-final matchup against the Banshees.  Captain Laura Turner has many facets to her game, and Drea Casillas and the Freedom defense will need to keep Dani Saulter in check; Saulter leads the Swans with seven majors in the tourney.

USA REVOLUTION (3-1) v IRELAND WARRIORS (3-1) – Men’s Division One 3rd Place Game
McAllister Oval, Royal Park, Melbourne, Australia
Friday, August 18, 2:15pm (Friday 12:15am EDT/Thursday 9:15pm PDT)

Despite the disappointment of missing out on a trip to the MCG after being on the wrong end of the percentage sign, the Revos will go into their match against Ireland licking their chops.  The Irish were tipped as favorites earlier in the tournament, and when a kick at the siren felled them to New Zealand, the Warriors dropped from first place to fourth in a New York minute.

The Revos will get a number of players back from rest against France, including Max Depina, who has impressed in his first ever IC tournament.  The USA and Ireland haven’t met since IC05, when the Revos knocked off the Warriors twice, including a victory in the third place game that year. Padraig Lucey is joint highest goalkicker in the tournament, having slotted home 14 goals.

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