LILLE, France – For the second day in a row, a promising first half was soured by a tough second half as the US men fell to China today by a 3-0 margin.
Throughout the first half both teams showed a very high intensity but were unable to take advantage of multiple scoring opportunities. Though the US could not capitalize on the composure and crisp stick-to-stick passing they exhibited, US goalkeeper Tom Sheridan kept the game scoreless with numerous saves. The US defense assisted in the effort as they thwarted a strong attack from the Chinese offense in the later minutes of the first half including 3 penalty corners.
The second half opened with the Chinese continuing to put on the pressure and it quickly resulted in a goal from the field in the 38th minute by Na Yubo. Though the Americans fought back, they continued to have trouble when given scoring opportunities. The Chinese, however, did not have the same trouble as they converted two more goals from the field in the 57th minute from Liu Xiantang and 64th minute from E Liguang to seal the 3-0 victory. Though the disparity in penalty corner chances was only 4-2 to the Chinese, it would be their effectiveness on the field coupled with the Americans’ inability to score that would be the difference in the game.
“Despite the loss the team is progressing. We’re moving forward with the amount of time that we can compete with high-level teams, “said Pat Cota. “In order to make the final push we need to convert chances, keep attacking the 25 [meter line], and get penalty corners. That’s what will help us as we move on to our next game versus Austria.”
The US will take a much needed rest day on July 4th and intends to celebrate American Independence during the time off. Play resumes Tuesday, July 5th with a game against Austria as Team USA closes out pool play.