Tested Defensively, U-21 USWNT Drops Opening Match against Argentina

June 15, 2018, 12 p.m. (ET)

Photo Credit: Prensa CAH / Juan Manuel Iglesias

TUCUMAN, Argentina – June 15, 2018 - In their first game of a three-match series against Argentina’s U-21 squad at the Swimming and Gymnastics Club in Tucuman, Argentina, the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team was tested defensively early and often. Scoreless after the first quarter, Argentina got on the board once in each of the remaining quarters to earn a 3-0 win. 

After the opening whistle, it didn’t take long for Argentina to use their quickness to get in and behind USA’s defensive line. U-21 USWNT goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) started to feel the pressure and moments into the match Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.) came up big with a diving goal live save. Shortly after Los Leoncitas earned their first penalty corner but USA’s defensive unit remained solid. The initial shot was deflected by flyer Brooke DeBerdine (Millersville, Pa.) and the second attempt was blocked by Sumfest on the post. Argentina’s second penalty corner attempt was again tipped away by the DeBerdine which helped spark a USA transition downfield. This was short lived as Argentina threatened again and earned their third penalty corner but were unsuccessful. The U-21 USWNT continued to weather Argentina’s attack as they sat and remaining strong in the circle. Before the first quarter closed, Katrina Carter (Gilroy, Calif.) generated some positive offense when she found the ball just inside the circle, but the score stood locked at zeros.

The second quarter started with a stale period of play where possession was shared between both teams, but USA continued to work hard. A close chance came when an Argentina striker found room and got a backhand shot off which forced Argentina’s goalkeeper to make a glove save. Back the other way, Argentina was unable to convert off a penalty corner but less than a minute later they kept possession and took it into their circle. A cross toward the goalmouth scrambled off Bing’s pads and was batted into the goal by Gianella Palet to give Argentina a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Los Leoncitas kept up the pressure and generated a fast break which forced Bing to come out and make a save. Just before halftime, USA earned a penalty corner, but Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.) drag sailed over the cross bar as the halftime score stood at USA 0, Argentina 1.

Similar to the start of the match, Argentina came out quick in the third quarter and continuing to test Bing and the defensive unit. An Argentina striker beat a few USA defenders, found room and attempted to strike a backhand but was met by Bing who denied the chance. At the other end, USA was presented with a few opportunities after successfully stringing together some attacking possession. USA earned a penalty corner where the drag attempt by Ballard was saved by Argentina’s goalkeeper but kept possession following. To close out the quarter, Argentina tallied their second goal off a penalty corner where Sofía Toccalino’s drag was buried into the left corner to make extend Argentina’s lead to 2-0.

The final frame started with USA on their heels defensively. Elise Wong (Perth Amboy, N.J.) was credited with staying clinical which transitioned to USA taking the ball to their offensive end. After regaining possession, Argentina continued to use their speed to break through USA’s defense and get positive looks on goal. Los Leoncitas would score in the final minute of play when an Argentina player threaded a long ball up the center of the field that found Guadalupe Adorno who beat Bing and put it in to make the closing score 3-0.

The U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team has today off but will return to the pitch on Saturday, June 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET for their second game against Argentina’s U-21 squad. The live stream of this game can be viewed by clicking here.