Growth From Game 1 Shown in Second U-21 USWNT Match Versus Argentina

June 16, 2018, 10:25 p.m. (ET)

TUCUMAN, Argentina - June 16, 2018 - The U-21 U.S. Women's National Team were back on the pitch Saturday afternoon against Argentina's U-21 team at the Gymnastics and Swimming Club in Tucuman, Argentina. Similar to the first match-up, USA was tested defensively early and often but were not without prime scoring chances of their own. A late second half surge by the host nation proved to be the difference maker as USA fell 3-1.

"In general the group showed some good growth from the first game today," said Phil Edwards, U.S. U21 Women's National Team Head Coach. "If we can be a little better in a few small areas in the final match I think we will put ourselves in a good position in that game and finish the tour on a high."

USA was challenged in the initial moments of the match when Argentina set up for a penalty corner in the 2nd minute, but could not convert. The teams would both exchange possessions before the host nation got another scoring opportunity in the 7th minute, which USA goalkeeper Kealsie Robles (Seaford, Va.) made the save on the play. Back the other way, USA threatened just outside the circle. Eyeing an opening, Taylor Stone (Herndon, Va.) made a cross pass but no one was able to make a connecting tip as the ball rolled away from play. Argentina then countered with a centering pass of their own with the same result in the 11th minute. With time short in the first 15 minutes of play, USA earned a free hit outside the circle to help set up their first penalty corner of the afternoon. Sophia Tornetta's (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) insert went to Elise Wong (Perth Amboy, N.J.) perfectly, but Argentina’s goalkeeper got a piece to make the ball roll just wide of the goal. The host nation quickly countered but USA’s defense cut off the inside angle to force the play dead. 

With the game still scoreless as the second quarter got underway. Argentina made the first major move of the frame with an early circle penetration that was met by a fast responding USA defensive unit. However, on the clear  USA lost possession inside the 25 yard line, forcing Robles to come out and make a sliding play to knock the ball away from the goal. Robles doubled up with another save moments later before Argentina set up for their second penalty corner of the match. The shot was not on target as USA struggled to clear once again. Argentina pounced on the extra possession chance but could not capitalize on the scoreboard as the ball sailed to the left of the goal. Los Leonitas was on the attack once more moments later, when the ball went into the goal but the shot was ruled to be outside the circle. The score remained 0-0 as Robles made her third save of the quarter. Pace and possession remained in Argentina’s favor while producing shots from all angles. Their attempts ultimately broke the scoreless affair when a shot on goal left Paula Santamarina unopposed in front of Robles, tipping the ball in for the 1-0 score. A pair of Los Leoncitas penalty corner rounded out the half, with Robles making another save on the last play before the horn sounded.

Argentina started off the third on another penalty corner try, but USA responded nicely to keep the score 1-0. USA pressed the ball back up field and was awarded a penalty corner. The insert by Tornetta went to Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) who's shot went wide, with no one there to connect on the play. On USA’s next offensive play, Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.) perfectly timed her circle entry and shot, hitting the sideboard on the far right side to tie the game 1-1. On the reset, Argentina set up for another penalty corner but could not produce a scoring play. USA answered by trapping Argentina deep in their defensive end near the sidelines. Time ticked away while Argentina persevered the last minute press and did not allow a shot on goal by USA.

The final quarter began similar to its predecessor, with Argentina’s penalty corner unit setting up for what would be the go ahead goal by Sofia Toccalino on a finely executed attempt. USA couldn’t produce anything following the reset, but earned an extra opportunity after intercepting Argentina on their clear attempt. Los Leoncitas stayed composed as possession went back to them. Back on offense, Argentina set up for a penalty corner, which was saved by Robles, but an infraction on the play gave Argentina another try. A foul called on the next play awarded Argentina a penalty stroke, which was successfully tucked into the net just outside the reach of Robles by Toccalino to make the score 3-1. Momentum stayed with the host nation as the clock ticked down as they kept the pressure on USA’s defense.

The U.S. U-21 Women's National Team wraps up their three-game series Sunday, June 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game via live stream by visiting the event page, or by clicking here.