USMNT Holds Off Chile to Earn First Pan American Games Medal in 24 Years

Images Taken by Mark Palczewski

Aug. 10, 2019, 5:49 p.m. (ET)

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LIMA, Peru - August 10, 2019 - It's been since 1995 that the U.S. Men’s National Team medaled at the Pan American Games. No. 28 Chile was the only thing that stood between the No. 24 USA walking away with Lima 2019 bronze or going home defeated. It was a scrappy battled until the very end at the Villa Maria del Triunfo complex in Lima, Peru, as USA scored first and led by two goals for the majority of the game. Los Diablos' attempted comeback fell short with only one goal, as the USMNT earned the 2-1 win and place on the podium. 

USA wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, putting one away in the first two minutes of the match. The play developed when Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) dribbled in from the left side of the circle, Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) picked it up and his shot was tipped in out of the air by Deegan Huisman (Almere, The Netherlands). As USA held an early 1-0 lead, Chile worked to change that momentum and drew a penalty corner a few minutes later. The slip pass to a drag flick by Juan Amoroso was handled well by the USA defense, and goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) cleared the ball out of danger. Los Diablos pressed on as they looked for a chance to even the score. They earned a second penalty corner with two minutes remaining in the quarter, but the shot flew high over the goal. USA saw a few opportunities to add to their lead without a result, leaving the score at USA 1, Chile 0. 

 

USA opened the second quarter with more chances to score that went untranslated. While a few long balls trickled over the end line untouched, Chile countered with a few looks of their own, but USA was able to turn them away. Recovering after each threat, Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) and the defense passed the ball around the back field as they inched forward and looked for the open player. Through this transfer movement a play developed in the 27th minute and Sean Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) drew a USA penalty corner where his drag attempt cleared out by goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez. As time ran out in the first half, Harris dumped the ball over to Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.) at the top of the circle, but he could not get a shot off before the Chile defense stepped. USA continued to lead 1-0 going into halftime. 

 

Taking back possession right away, USA charged up the field to start the third frame. They created ample opportunities to score but were tripped up by the Chile defense until halfway through the third quarter. When Los Diablos tried to send an overhead over the midfield, USA was there to disrupt their plan. Eight minutes into the half, A. Kaeppeler connected with Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) who found Harris at the right side of the circle to draw a second penalty corner. A. Kaeppeler executed a perfect drag into the net above Henriquez to put the red, white and blue up by another goal. Although USA saw a handful of other looks to score, Chile turned them away as the quarter concluded with USA on top, 2-0.

 

Chile came out in the final quarter with a mission to make a comeback. They cut the deficit in half when Felipe Renz sent a drag past Klages on a penalty corner five minutes in. Following this, play turned frantic as both teams felt the pressure to perform. It looked like Chile would tie things up with four minutes to go as several circle entries required Klages and the USA defense to make stops. Chile pulled their goalkeeper with two minutes remaining, hoping the extra player would help the scoring effort. Los Diablos drew a penalty corner shortly after, but Barminski came up with a big defensive save on the post. USA worked the ball into the corner of the field to run out time and sealed their place in the medaling ceremony. USA held off the Chile comeback to win their first medal in the Pan American Games in 15 years with a score of 2-1. 

U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Harris was recognized before today's match for earning his 150th international cap, making him the highest ever capped male athlete in the program.

Don’t miss a moment! For more information, check out the 2019 Pan American Games Event Program by clicking here.

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