USWNT Falls to The Netherlands in Second FIH Pro League Meeting

Images Taken by FIH/Getty Images

April 14, 2019, 12:40 p.m. (ET)

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – April 14, 2019 – The U.S. Women’s National Team returned to the pitch Sunday to play their second FIH Pro League match in five days. After a heartbreaking last-minute loss to Belgium last Wednesday, USA aimed to get off to a fast start against No. 1 The Netherlands at HC Rotterdam in Rotterdam. The red, white and blue were first to get on the scoreboard early in the opening quarter, but the Oranje quickly took momentum of the match, scoring seven unanswered goals to win 7-1.

The home team’s intensity was apparent from the opening whistle as USA’s defensive unit was tested in the first minute. Malou Pheninckx took a quick backhand shot on goal which forced Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) to make a glove save. Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) was able to send the ball forward but The Netherlands swiftly blocked off any open USA players near midfield. Mounting pressure, The Netherlands gained several circle entries in the first few minutes of play but USA’s defense was up to the task. Back the other way, USA was patient in setting up their first offensive try. After Mackenzie Allessie (Mount Joy, Pa.) was turned away near the circle, Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.) passed along to Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.)  who found Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) in front of her defender. Dessoye then passed over to Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.) whose initial tip was stopped by goalkeeper Josine Koning before she finished her attempt to give USA a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. The Oranje then took the next few minutes to test their opponent’s defense once more. After Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) was able to break up the first attempt, Xan de Waard took a strike at the top of the circle, beating Bing to make it 1-1. Before the quarter ended, USA looked for the go-ahead goal once more but could not penetrate The Netherlands’ defense.

Opening the second quarter, Sharkey looked for Allessie near the top of the circle but were intercepted. Back the other way, Kyra Fortuin found herself inside USA’s circle, who then took a shot that went off a defenders foot, giving The Netherlands the first penalty corner of the game in the 18th minute. After fending off the attempt, the Oranje continued to threaten outside the circle. Seconds later, Yibbi Jansen found Fortuin who took a backhand shot that hit the post to give her team the 2-1 advantage. USA patiently waited to progress after the reset as Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) and Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) worked the ball back and forth. Near midfield, The Netherlands intercepted USA on a pass attempt, and after a free hit was awarded, de Waard converted on a field goal just inches inside the circle to extend The Netherlands lead to 3-1. The trend continued to the end of the half as USA was consistently picked off on clear attempts and offensive tries.

Both teams showed higher intensity to open the third quarter but played out in similar fashion. After a clear by Magadan was intercepted, the Oranje took advantage of an unsettled USA defense to get their second penalty corner of the match. Looking for her third goal, de Waard took the shot but Bing made the save and rebound save. In the 35th minute, Margot van Geffen scored for The Netherlands off a cross but USA asked for a video referral, arguing Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) was pushed prior to the goal. The referral confirmed this, awarding USA a free hit. Later the Oranje found the goal once more as Bing came out to challenge an undefended Fortuin. Now down 4-1, USA looked to counter attack but a misplayed ball by Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) near midfield gave the opposition another scoring chance. Laurien Leurink took a backhand shot that was stopped by Bing before USA cleared. Moments later another penalty corner try would set up The Netherlands' fifth goal off a drag flick by Jansen in the 41st minute. With time winding down, after an initial shot by Ireen van dem Assem made Gonzales lose her stick, Marloes Keetels took advantage and scored as both teams hesitated waiting for a penalty corner to be called. The score stood 6-1 heading into the final quarter, where The Netherlands maintained control and did not allow USA a moment to clear or set up offensively. In the 56th minute on another penalty corner, Caia van Maasakker scored after the successful trap to give the team a 7-1 lead before the final buzzer sounded.

 

“If you just look at the scoreboard it was a rough game for us but I do think we had some bright spots,” said Sharkey in a post-game interview. “We are a very young team so we are just focusing on ourselves, learning and growing each game. It’s great experience to play against the number one team in the world. You can't hide anything and they really point out your weaknesses. We are going to take what we can from this game and learn from it.”

 

"I think there were some moments from when we had the ball we had some really good passing connections,” added Sharkey. “But in a game like this against this team you have to be on every single moment to make it count.

Following the match, de Waard was named Player of the Match.

Today's match also marked a career milestone as Hoffman earned her 50th international cap.

The USWNT’s FIH Pro League road trip continues on Saturday, April 27, in London when they take on No. 2 Great Britain at 9:00 a.m. ET. Don't miss a second of the action by watching on Bleacher Report LiveFor more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here#FIHProLeague