MOORPARK, CA – The USA junior men’s national team took on the junior men from Argentina for the second day in a row Sunday morning looking to avenge their 2-1 loss from Saturday. Unfortunately for the Junior men, it would be a ten-minute period in the second half that would define the game as they lost 5-2.
The early part of the first half saw the junior USA men play solid defense against a strong, attacking Argentina team. Though Argentina was pushing forward into the offensive circle the US defense held strong and would not allow solid shots. The strong defense translated over to the offense as well as the US counter attack provided solid scoring opportunities, though none were realized. It would be Argentina that would strike first, however, as they finally broke through in the 17th minute on a counter attack to take a 1-0 lead. Though the US defense would hold for the remainder of the half the offense could not get started either as the Argentineans took a 1-0 lead into the half.
Rebounding from the one-goal deficit, the US Juniors put two goals of their own on the board to take the lead in the early minutes of the second half. With a newfound momentum, the US Juniors looked to continue their offensive pressure with the score advantage. However, it would a be a ten-minute stretch that would be their undoing as Argentina unloaded for three goals in the middle of the second half to take a 4-2 lead and seize control of the match. Adding a 5th goal in the later stages of the half gave Argentina an insurmountable 5-2 lead and the victory for the second straight day.
In the second game of the day the US Senior Men took on Queensland Hockey Club for their second match in as many days. Being more prepared for the physical style of play from the Australians, the US controlled the majority of the match today as they walked away with a 6-2 victory.
The first ten minutes of the match saw a very strong US defense that dictated the pace of play and helped the US push forward into the Queensland offensive zone. Though they did not have any legitimate scoring opportunities, it was evident that Queensland was frustrated as they were overpowered and took a green card in the 11th minute.
As has become common for the US Seniors, it would be Pat Harris (Moorpark, CA) that would jumpstart the offense as he scored off penalty corners in the 20th and 27th minutes to give the US a 2-0 lead. Coupled with tremendous play from goalkeeper Tom Sheridan (New York, NY) the US protected their 2-0 lead as time expired in the first half.
In the early minutes of the second half it looked to be more of the same as the US continued to control the game through crisp passing and high quality play. Pat Harris once again showed why he is considered one of the US’s top players as he received the ball in the midfield, dribbled and spun past three Queensland defenders, and found Jon Ginolfi (Moorpark, CA) in front of the goal who used a quick backhanded shot to give the Americans a three goal lead in the 43rd minute. However, the victory was not secure as Queensland made a push of their own, scoring field goals in the 47th and 49th minutes to pull within a goal and make the crowd hold their breath hoping the US could hold on.
The ensuing minutes stayed tense as Queensland rode their momentum and kept the pressure on the Americans who looked frantic as they tried to maintain their lead. But it would be a favorable day for Team USA as Jon Ginolfi would lead a string of counter attacks that led to goals from Will Holt (Camarillo, CA) in the 60th and 62nd minutes and Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, CA) in the 67th minute to take back the lead, the momentum, and ultimately, the game. As the final horn sounded, the senior men walked away with a well-fought and well-played 6-2 victory over a feisty Queensland team.
With a day off for all teams, the action picks back up on Tuesday at 6pm as the Junior USA Men take on Queensland. Come out to Moorpark College to support Team USA!