U.S. – Canada rivalry produces fierce battle in Pan American Cup semifinal
The U.S. Men’s National Team will play for a bronze medal on Saturday, August 17
“We had an amazing game of hockey tonight against Canada in front of their home crowd,” said head coach Chris Clements. “Our young team played outstanding for a full 70 minutes. Our game plan was spot on. We created opportunities and we denied Canada opportunities. One moment was the difference in the match tonight but I could not be more proud of the team and their performance. They left everything out there on the field.”
The U.S. drew a penalty corner in the first ninety seconds of play but Patrick Harris’s (Moorpark, Cali.) drag flick was stick saved by Canada’s goalkeeper. A lively first half swung from end to end with the U.S. seeing more scoring opportunities in the opening minutes than Canada.
In the 10th minute, Canada’s Sukhi Panesar scored with a reverse stick shot from the top of the circle. The U.S. had numerous chances to score the equalizer, including back-to-back penalty corners late in the first half. The opportunities came frequently, but the U.S. men were unable to convert any into a goal.
“It is always a competitive rivalry playing Canada,” said veteran U.S. midfielder Ian Scally. “We felt this time around we had a little bit of an upper hand. With that said we could not find the back of the net and Canada did early. It was tough to break them after that.”
The U.S. continued to create opportunities in the second half and exerted their entire selves until the final whistle blew. However, Panesar’s lone goal scored in the tenth minute was enough to send Canada into the finals on Saturday against Argentina.
The U.S. finished second in pool play by defeating Uruguay, 12-0, and Mexico, 3-2, to advance to the semifinal. The U.S. will now play for a bronze medal on Saturday, August 17 against Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago also finished second in their pool, defeating Brazil, 2-5 in their Pan Am Cup opener and Chile 5-1. Trinidad and Tobago fell to Argentina, 8-0, in the semifinal.
“We have one day of rest and we can do some things in order to be prepared physically for our final match against Trinidad and Tobago,” said Scally. “They are a totally different team than Canada. They have a different style of play and it is going to be a monster of a match. We have to adjust our game plan and come 100% ready if we want to win that game and be on the podium which is exactly what we want to do and what we came here to do. We are still in a position to achieve our goals.”
“We are going take the positives from tonight and put this match behind us,” said Clements. “We will be looking to secure a medal in our final match against Trinidad and Tobago.”
Pan American Cup matches are being streamed live on panamhockey.org. Follow all the action from the World Cup qualifying tournament on usafieldhockey.com and @USAFieldHockey