The U.S. finishes in fourth place after 3-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in bronze-medal matchBRAMPTON, Ontario – August 17, 2013 – The U.S. Men’s National Team finished just off of the podium at the Pan American Cup in Brampton, Ontario, falling to Trinidad and Tobago, 3-1, in the bronze-medal match. Trinidad and Tobago picked up their first-ever Pan American Cup medal with winning performances against Brazil, Chile and the U.S throughout the week-long tournament.
“We had a tough finish to the tournament today as we were looking to come home with a medal,” said head coach Chris Clements. “We started the match well, executing our game plan. Both teams struggled with fatigue, however Trinidad and Tobago were more clinical in the moments they had throughout the match. We have a fantastic young group and we have established the culture and the direction of the program here. These players did us proud in representing USA this week.”
The U.S. opened the match with speed, precision and composure, firing the first shot on goal and earning the first penalty corner in the 11th minute. Aki Kaepeller (Ventura, Cali.) capitalized with a powerful drag flick, putting the U.S. ahead early, 1-nil.
Trinidad and Tobago was efficient and successful on penalty corners, scoring the first of three corner goals in the 22nd minute to draw the match, 1-1, in the first half.
Trinidad and Tobago opened the second half with two penalty corners and capitalized on the second in the 43rd minute, earning their first lead, 2-1. The U.S. had an opportunity to equalize the match with a penalty corner in the 57th minute, but Kaepeller’s drag flick was batted over the endline. In the 61st minute, Trinidad and Tobago were awarded with another penalty corner and once again were successful in converting their opportunity into a goal.
Despite an all-out U.S. effort to come back from a two-goal deficit, Trinidad and Tobago were able to maintain their lead in the final ten minutes for a 3-1 victorious performance and the Pan American Cup bronze medal.
“I don’t think we stuck quite to the game plan we wanted to put in place,” said U.S. goalkeeper Chris Rea. “Preparation wise we did everything we could have done but for some reason we didn’t come out firing as much as we should have. We are disappointed. We wanted to go home with bronze, but full credit to Trinidad and Tobago for a good performance today.”
The U.S. finished second in pool play by defeating Uruguay, 12-0, and Mexico, 3-2, to advance to the semifinal against Canada. The cordial United States-Canada field hockey rivalry produced a fierce battle under the lights at the Cassie Campbell Community Centre for a spot in the final. An early goal for Canada in the tenth minute was enough to send the hosts to the gold medal match against undefeated Argentina. With World Cup qualification on the line, Canada and Argentina fought to a 0-0 draw in the first half. But Argentina quickly lit up the scoreboard in the second half, recording four penalty corner goals for a final score of 4-0.
U.S. striker Patrick Harris (Moorpark, Cali.) was named to the Tournament 11 Team, which recognizes the top eleven players at the Pan American Cup tournament.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will return to the States tomorrow. After a short break from hockey, nineteen players will continue their full-time training program at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Cali.
“The centralized training program provides a lot of opportunity for us to excel our game,” said Michael Barminski. “We had some good and some not so good performances and there are things we will take away from this tournament. Overall, it was a great collective effort and we will continue to polish up our skills in San Diego.”
Originally from Ventura, Cali., Barminski is one of many players who now call San Diego home. Barminski works, studies and trains in southern California and aspires to represent his country in the Olympic Games.