USA Field Hockey
U19 Boys' Take on Canada in Games 2 and 3 of series
The USA side started the second match looking to improve on their game one performance. In the first half, numerous USA penalty corner opportunities seemed to foretell a more positive result. Johnny Orozco launched several shots from the top of the offensive circle, but excellent goal keeping on the Canadian side frustrated the Americans. However, when Canada had their turn at a penalty corner, a strong second effort sent the ball into the net after an initial shot rejection by USA goalie Spenser Reed. After scoring, Canada picked up steam heading into halftime while the USA side sagged noticeably. The score sat at 1-0 in favor of the Canadians heading into the break.
At halftime, USA Coach Ben Maruquin reset and fixed some positions and rallied his troops. Unfortunately, the Canadian side had ideas of their own and continued to push aggressively towards the USA goal. In the 43rd minute, the Canadians ran a well-executed penalty corner, roll to L1 with a deflection shot finished into the net by R2 at the far post. Having secured a 2-0 lead, the Canadians seemed satisfied, and shifted further into their own half, occasionally pressing near the half line.
As the game progressed, the USA side seemed to slowly become more organized and aggressive, but were again frustrated several times on penalty corners. Finally, Liam Walsh, displaying toughness and leadership, drove the USA squad to a free hit at the Canadian 25 at minute 62. On the free hit, Tyler Sundeen received the pass and launched a hard hit, which was deflected by a well-positioned Viren Padhiar, across the goal and into the net on the far post. The loud roar of approval from the stands only reinforced the reaction of the USA side, which immediately began playing several levels above their previous effort.
They were rewarded two minutes later with a penalty corner, when Michael Barminski received the injection, dragged the ball towards the right which stretched the Canadian defense, and then swept the ball across the top of the circle to Christian Linney on the left, who bounced his shot off the backboard on the near post to knot the score at two apiece.
For the remainder of the match, the Americans pressed and harassed the shocked Canadians who had difficulty regrouping. However, the match ended with both sides disappointed as the Canadians could not hold onto their initial lead and the USA side wondering what might have been had they played the entire match with the level of intensity and desire that they displayed at the finish.
Early in the final match of the 3rd game of the series the air went out of the balloon for Team USA.
Echoing the previous games, Canada scored early on a counterattack created by USA mistakes. The first score was followed quickly by two more to leave Canada coasting into halftime with a 3-0 advantage. Pushing forward to create scoring chances USA gave up two more counterattack goals to Canada leaving the final at 5-0. On a positive note the USA squad remained tough and aggressive until the final whistle.