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LIMA, Peru - August 9, 2019 - On-ball, off-play and defensively - today's game was all about connections. The No. 13 U.S. Women's National Team struggled to connect on the final pass during their previous semifinal match, and knew it had to be the focus when they took on No. 15 Chile for the bronze medal of the 2019 Pan American Games. The first few minutes brought excitement to the Villa Maria del Triunfo complex in Lima, Peru as both sides shared quick goals. USA stuck to their game plan and collectively shut down Las Diablas threats while connecting on four more goals, powered by a hat trick from Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), to secure the 5-1 win and hardware.
The opening minutes of the match were full of thrill. After a few unsuccessful USA circle entries, Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) drove the left baseline and sent a backhand cross at no angle that hit the pads of Chile goalkeeper Claudia Schuler and went in. USA’s 1-0 lead was short lived as off the restart Las Diablas worked it ahead and Consuelo de las Heras one-time swept it into the net. The minutes following saw both sides with circle penetrations, and Chile earned the quarter’s lone penalty corner that was stopped by USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas). USA continued to threaten forward and saw two good looks on goal. The first came after a quick sequence of passes found Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) in the circle. She pushed it along to Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) who couldn’t get a shot off in front of Schuler. The next came when Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) intercepted a ball and sent it to Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) on the right baseline. She drove forward and dumped it back to the stroke mark but no teammate was there. The first frame finished tied 1-1.
USA opened up the scoring and extended their lead in the second quarter. Three minutes in, Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) carried it into the pocket and sent it ahead to Matson. She weaved between two Chile defenders toward the left baseline and sent a backhand into the net to make it 2-1. USA continued to attack and at the 21st minute mark, a quick free hit taken by Casey Umstead (Green Lane, Pa.) was passed cross-field to Linnea Gonzales (Bel Air, Md.) at the opposite top of the circle. She passed it off to Sharkey who quickly received and shot it past Schuler. A spell of turnovers between the 25 yard lines happened for a period for both teams as they tried to regain control. USA capitalized again in the 24th minute after a rebound from Schuler was picked up by Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.). She sent it to Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) in front of the goal, who shot and Matson tucked away the rebound to make it 4-1. Chile responded with a series of positive circle entries, and a close chance when Manuela Urroz sent a low backhand cross that went through the circle. USA finished the quarter with a shot by Manley that Schuler barely got a touch on.
The third quarter saw Chile come out with a higher tempo that was matched by USA’s defense. Las Diablas produced several good circle entries before a close chance came at the other end for USA. Five minutes in, Hoffman recovered and transitioned from a Chile threat and sent it forward to Sharkey. She took it into the circle and was tripped but no call was given. Las Diablas started to get frustrated as they could not find open lanes to break forward. Toward the end of the frame Carolina Garcia sent a hard ball through the circle that slipped just wide of the goal with no teammates there to make the tip.
Chile continued their hunt to cut the goal margin in the final quarter and earned a penalty corner in the first minute, after a video referral confirmation. Hoffman stopped the drag attempt and immediately countered downfield getting it ahead to Grega in the circle who had no supporting teammates as the ball hit her foot. Chile attacked the other way and Urroz got a backhand off that went over the goal. Play worked its way back to USA’s attacking end and in the 52nd minute from the top of the circle Sharkey ripped a backhand shot that dangerously came off the glove of Schuler giving USA a penalty corner. Executed perfectly, Hoffman sent her drag to the left down to inserter Matson who deflected it in off the reverse to give herself a hat trick. Immediately following Chile drew a penalty corner of their own but the Camila Caram’s backhand was called too high. The final minutes saw a USA penalty corner chance go unconverted and a few more scoring opportunities as the final score stood 5-1 to the red, white and blue.
Two athletes hit milestone caps in today’s match. Dessoye and Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.) both played in their 50th international competition.
Next for the USWNT is an Olympic Qualifying Event. USA will find out their opponent after the completion of the last continental championship, the Oceania Cup that concludes September 8.
Don’t miss a moment! For more information, check out the 2019 Pan American Games Event Program by clicking here.
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