Shannon Taylor is congratulated by teammates after opening the scoring against Argentina on July 31, 2012
|Shannon Taylor celebrates scoring against Argentina|
LONDON -- Shannon Taylor scored late in the first half and the United States upset Argentina 1-0 in women's field hockey Tuesday night at the London Olympics.
The Americans got into the Olympics by stunning Argentina 4-2 in last year's final at the Pan American Games -- which was considered the best win in U.S. field hockey history at the time.
Not anymore, perhaps. The Americans controlled long stretches of play against the No. 2-ranked team in the world, got some key saves from Amy Swensen and kept Argentine star Luciana Aymar largely silent throughout.
Both teams are now 1-1 in Group B play.
The teams played a four-game test series in June, splitting the matchups -- one win for each team, and the other two games ending in draws -- although Argentina was playing without Aymar, widely considered the best player in the world.
So it was no surprise that the Americans allowed her no room to show off her skills. As she carried the ball over midfield midway through the first half, five Americans surrounded her, each running no more than a step or two away from Aymar.
The U.S. had a great chance to open the scoring after being awarded a penalty corner with 9 minutes left in the first half, only to be denied.
But only two minutes later, Taylor got behind the Argentine defense and tipped a ball played by Michelle Vittese into the upper part of the net, giving goalkeeper Florencia Mutio no chance.
Argentina could have drawn level just before halftime, getting a corner of its own, but Swensen easily blocked it.
In the second half, Argentina poured on the pressure. Carla Rebecchi had two great chances, one stopped by Swensen with the right foot, another sailing over the bar with about seven minutes left.