The USA Men faced two games on Wednesday at the Indoor World Cup. The first was against European Champions Austria and the second against England. Austria is in fine form at the moment and is hoping to displace Germany from the top of World Indoor. The USA tried to control the chances available to the Austrians, but was caught on a number of quick counterattacks. While the final score line was 5-0 for Austria, the USA was able to hold off the Austrians for spells, especially after the time out in each half.
After withdrawing from international indoor in 1995, England made a return three years ago and has moved up to the top division in Europe. Currently among the best outdoor teams in the world, England use indoor to develop their players’ close in skills and vision for passing. They are training hard year round with the aim of medaling in the 2012 Olympics in London. The USA fell behind to a well-executed corner goal, but equalized just before half time with following good passing and a great finish by Sean Harris.
England took the lead from another corner early in the second half, but the USA again fought back to equalize, after a corner shot was stopped by a foot on the line and Pat Harris converted the resulting stroke. An unfortunate turnover gifted England a breakaway against the keeper, leading to a 3-2 lead for England. The USA fought hard for the last ten minutes, but was unable to even up the score. It was disappointing for the team to come so close to earning a result against England, but they can take some comfort in having made a great effort in this match.
The team’s strong performance was recognized by several experienced observers. Gus Soteriades, who is umpiring at the tournament but watched the game, said that it was the best effort he had seen from a USA team. Bert Bunnik, technical director of KNHB (Dutch Hockey) stated that the USA had surprised a lot of people and played a fine game against England and had deserved a result. Lastly, a senior member of the umpiring team commended the USA for the manner in which they played and said that England were very lucky to escape with the points. It is great to hear these comments, but it would have been even sweeter to come away with some points.
Coach Peter Jones commended both the goalies on the squad for great efforts-Jason Wellings in the morning against England and Kevein Segeren against England. In addition, Jones felt that the all the players had contributed to the effort against England, with the team able to stick successfully to the game plan for the majority of the match.
The number of USA supporters increased today, with Mo Runzi’s parents and brother and Tim Krauss’ parents arriving, as well as Ann Marie Jones and Fran Papuga. All enjoyed the game against England, while wishing the result could have been slightly different.
On Thursday, the USA will play the Czech Republic, semi-finalists at the last IWC. It will be another very hard game, but the USA players will try to reach deep and produce another strong performance.
The USA indoor team on tour is Kevin Segeren , Jason Wellings, Christoph Winter, Rob Schilling, Tim Krauss , Moritz Runzi, Pat Harris, Steve Mann, Sean Harris, Steve Danielson, Shawn Hindy and Pat Cota. Nigel Traverso is the manager, Brian Brata of Michigan State University is the athletic trainer, Marijn Petermeijer is the video analyst/assistant coach and Peter Jones is the Head Coach. Also assisting the team in Poznan is Goalie Coach Heiko Milz of Magic Goalies and video assistant Ashley Jones of Greenwich Academy.
The USA Indoor program is grateful to the USFHA, USFHF and the US Men’s Field Hockey Foundation for supporting its Indoor World Cup preparations and participation and to Asics for outfitting the team.