USWNT Falls Heartbreakingly Short to Germany in FIH Pro League

Images Taken by FIH/Getty Images

April 30, 2019, 4:22 p.m. (ET)

MÖNCHENGLADBACH, Germany – April 30, 2019 – Following their match with No. 2 Great Britain this past weekend, the No. 12 U.S. Women's National Team continued their FIH Pro League road trip through Europe against No. 5 Germany at the HockeyPark in Mönchengladbach. The last time the two sides faced each other was nearly two years ago in the title game of the 2017 FIH Hockey World League Semifinals. Today’s contest held the same intensity and almost mimicked the game progress as Germany got on the scoreboard first, but consistent pressure saw USA equalize at the end of the third. A penalty stroke goal in the final quarter by Die Danas turned out to be the game-decider as USA fell 2-1.

Off the starting whistle, Germany quickly took possession into their attacking end, got in the circle and forced USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) to make a clear over the end line. In the 4th minute, Anne Schröder produced Germany’s first shot of the game off a backhand that was saved by Bing. This was followed by USA working it into their circle and forcing Germany’s goalkeeper Nathalie Kubalski off the line to make a clear. Germany held control for the remainder of the period and in the 10th minute, following a series of circle entries, the hosts capitalized on a ball that fell to Lena Micheel at the stroke mark. With a 1-0 lead, Germany kept the attacking pressure on as USA struggled to keep possession before the quarter closed.

In the second quarter, Germany continued the control that they held early in the match. The first couple of minutes saw Die Danas enter their circle four times but they were met by a solid USA defense. A close chance for Germany to extend their lead came when Elisa Gräve had room for a backhand shot but was met by a USA stick that deflected the ball high. Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.) was unable to settle the high ball as it hit her foot, giving Germany a penalty corner but to no avail. As time wound down USA stepped up their attacking presence and worked it ahead. With seconds left, Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) bumped a pass forward to Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) whose one-time hit was saved and sent over the goal by Kubalski. This kept Die Danas ahead 1-0 at halftime.

Quarter three had more equal possession between both sides as they shared circle entries at the beginning. The first real threat came for Germany 12 minutes in when Hannah Gablac was found in a 1v1 situation with Ali Froede (Burke, Va.) at the top of the circle but recovering USA teammates helped elevate the situation. Moments later Schröder eliminated three USA defenders, dumped it into the circle but Gablac’s touch went wide. Two minutes following Die Danas earned a penalty corner after Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) was not 5 yards from the play but as the attempt went wide USA immediately countered and responded with a penalty corner of their own. In the 45th minute, Sharkey’s initial straight shot and Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) second chance were both saved but Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.) finished high into the left corner of the net to tie it at 1-1.

Germany started the fourth quarter on the front foot, earning themselves three consecutive penalty corners in a row. The first two were identical plays where Nike Lorenz’s drag attempt went into USA flyer West’s foot or legs. The third chance was again a drag by Lorenz but this time she went high and Bing was there to make the glove save. On the attacking end, USA continued to go forward when they could but were unsuccessful in breaking through Germany’s defense only registering two circle entries in the quarter. Die Danas were persistent in the final ten minutes, constantly threading balls ahead into open spaces while able to get multiple consecutive circle penetrations. As Germany kept testing USA’s defense a lapse came for the red, white and blue when a scramble of shots in front of the goal in the 52nd minute led to a penalty stroke called against as the ball went off Anna Dessoye’s (Mountaintop, Pa.) body in the goalmouth. Lorenz converted to give Germany a 2-1 lead. The hosts dominant possession maintained in the final minutes but not before two final attempts came for USA through a backhand cross by Sharkey that was just missed by Gonzales and a solo run by Grega was halted.

Following the match, Germany’s Micheel was named Player of the Match.

The U.S. Women’s National Team returns to the United States where they will host three games in nine days at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. USA will play No. 3 Australia on Friday, May 10, No. 4 Argentina on Sunday, May 12 and No. 10 China on Saturday, May 18. Tickets for these games are available and can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here. #FIHProLeague