KERMANSHAH, Iran -- As anticipated, the battle between the U.S. and Azerbaijan for first place in Group A at the Freestyle World Cup was hotly contested and wildly entertaining. Both teams won four matches in the dual, but it was bonus point performances that gave the American team the edge on criteria.
Picking up crucial technical fall wins were 2015 World bronze medalist James Green at 70 kilograms/154 pounds, and 2013 University World bronze medalist David Taylor at 86 kilograms/189 pounds.
Stepping on the mat with the team trailing 2-1, Green ignited a spark in the U.S. effort that changed the momentum of the dual. Green blasted David Suynyuchkhanov with a wide variety of offensive attacks to post a 10-0 first period technical fall.
"I know these guys were trying to slow us down, stay close. It was going to be a close match throughout the lineup, so to go out there and get a tech was definitely big for Team USA," Green said.
Taylor continued his impressive World Cup showing with a signature 12-2 victory over 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan. Taylor notched five takedowns and a match ending exposure from a near-side cradle position in the winning effort. Taylor now owns wins over two past Olympic medalists at the World Cup this week.
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