Solid Effort in US Victory

July 05, 2011, 11:55 a.m. (ET)

LILLE, France – It may have been the Fourth of July dinner at the aptly-named “Buffalo Grill” that instilled confidence, it could have been the team-building laser tag tournament, or perhaps it was as simple as committing to playing a full game and working together as a unit.  Whatever the reason, the US senior men walked off the pitch victorious as they used a terrific all-around effort to beat Austria 1-0 Tuesday.

The first half of the game belonged to the Americans as they controlled the tempo of the match from the opening whistle.  Executing sharp passes and minimizing mistakes the Americans were able to secure two penalty corner opportunities as well as take six goal shots.  On the opposite side of the pitch, the US defense did not allow a single goal shot or penalty corner to the Austrians.  However, while they played well the inability to convert any of their chances both frustrated the senior men as well as left the game wide open as the first half closed with no score.

As the second half began, the US kept up the overall control of the match but continued to have issues in the offensive zone early in the period.  Though Pat Harris (Moorpark, CA) would alleviate that issue in the 45th minute when he fired home one of the three penalty corners secured in the second half by Team USA to give the 1-0 advantage. 

Austria, showing that they still had every intention of walking away victorious themselves, began to press forward on the US squad in the latter part of the game.   As the game momentum began to float towards Austria, they were able to earn four penalty corners in the last 15 minutes of the match and a total of five corners in the second half overall.  But as he has shown throughout the tournament, US goalkeeper Tom Sheridan (New York, NY) made save after save, including a diving stick save in expired time on a corner, to protect the one goal lead and thus, the victory. 

“Today we reached down into our ‘passion bucket’ to pull out that win,” Jon Ginolfi commented post-game.  “Austria is a good team but we know when we play together we can be tough to beat.  It was nice to put it together today, play a whole game, and get our first victory.  Now we’ll wait to see who we play Thursday and try to keep it going.”

With the completion of the pool round, Team USA will enjoy a rest day Wednesday and awaits tournament results to see whom they take on this Thursday in the quarterfinal round.  Check back for updates and remember to keep cheering on the Red, White, and Blue!

Game Notes:

Will Holt received his 50th international cap in today’s match.