USWNT Drops Final Road FIH Pro League Game to China

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June 15, 2019, 6:01 a.m. (ET)

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Changzhou, China – June 15, 2019 – In their final road game of the FIH Pro League, No. 12 U.S. Women’s National Team took on No. 10 China at the Wujin Hockey Stadium in Changzhou, China. In a rematch from a contest less than a month ago, USA struggled to produce as the hosts converted on four chances in route to the 4-0 victory.

"I think we fought really hard but lacked a little finesse in our basic skills today," said Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach, following the game. "Our biggest take away will be that despite the circumstances (loud crowd for example) we can still play our own game and do our own jobs first, not trying to do too much."

USA started with possession, but it didn’t take long for China to take control into their attacking end. After a few failed entries, the hosts earned their first penalty corner in the 5th minute. Unsuccessful on the chance, China went on to earn another two penalty corners and produced three shots in the quarter. USA’s lone circle penetration came in the 10th minute when Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.) successfully defended a China penalty corner and passed it ahead to counter. Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) used her skill to get it in the circle, drive the right baseline and dump it back but no teammate was there. The first frame finished scoreless.

The second quarter started with back and forth play before Matson tried to send a backhand cross into the circle that went to no avail. China continued to threaten and tested USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) on consecutive chances. The first came when Mengling Zhong got a shot off, and although Bing made the initial save her touch hit a USA foot earning China their fourth penalty corner. The second came off the drag attempt by Bingfeng Gu and Bing was there to make the glove save. USA sustained multiple run by China and it seemed that the teams were going to go into halftime still scoreless but in the 29th minute the hosts worked it into the circle with quick passing and Yang Peng was on the left post to finish and make it USA 0, China 1.

The start of the third quarter was all China as they immediately took possession into their attacking end. Bing produced two critical back to back saves after two goal mouth scrambles. This was followed by captain Peng using great stick skill to eliminate and get between two USA defenders, but the run went unfinished. A deep USA turnover seemed costly as Hong Li used her speed to get into the circle and send a backhand shot over the goal. This was followed up by China’s fifth penalty corner of the game that Gu converted with a drag into the bottom left to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. USA continued to try and break through China’s defense but were unsuccessful. In the 40th minute, China extended their lead on a field goal after Xiaoxue Zhang fired a rocket of a shot into the far side board to make it 3-0. At that time, USA goalkeeper Jessica Jecko (Sauquoit, N.Y.) entered the game and that substitution seemed to provide a spark as the red, white and blue produced their first two shots of the game. The first came when Matson got into the circle and fired a backhand that earned USA a penalty corner. The second was on that attempt when Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) sent a straight shot on target and although Matson scored on the rebound it hit her foot before she put it in the goal.

China wasted no time after the whistle blew to start the final quarter with another goal. With a ton of space on the right side, X. Zhang sent it to Qiu Guo who collected the ball and lifted it into the net past Jecko to add her name to the score sheet. With nothing to lose, USA started to apply a higher press in hopes to turnover China’s defense. In the 53rd minute, it seemed that USA earned another penalty corner after a foul outside the circle was upgraded but China used their referral seeing a clean tackle and they were correct with the decision. USA had one final look on goal through Matson but the score stood 4-0 to China.

Today’s contest was the first international match for USWNT defender Kelly Marks (Elverson, Pa.).

Following the match, China’s X. Zhang was named Player of the Match.

The U.S. Women’s National Team returns to the United States for their final FIH Pro League game on Saturday, June 22 against No. 5 Germany at 7:00 p.m.ET. Tickets for this game are available and can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, check out the FIH Pro League event page by clicking here. #FIHProLeague