U-20 USMNT Clinch Series in Game Three Against Chile, U-16 USMNT Continue to Improve Heading into Match Four

Images Taken by Katherine Hennessy

March 15, 2019, 12:53 p.m. (ET)

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SANTIAGO, Chile – March 15, 2019 – Played at the Club Manquehue in Santiago, Chile, the U.S. U-16 and U-20 Men’s National Teams hit the turf ready to make a statement in their third match-ups. The U-16 team looked to continue their progress on closing the scoring gap against their host counterparts. Determination cut the score line in the third period, but Chile’s continued pressure and penalty corner conversions put the game out of reach as the match finished 4-1 in favor of Chile. The U-20 side saw another close match that finished in a nerve-racking battle. USA scored what would become the winning goal in the third quarter after Chile tallied one back as the game ended in favor of USA 2-1. This victory secured the series for the Junior USMNT and marks the first clinch since 2011.

“We’re happy to have won the first junior away series since 2011,” commented Rutger Wiese, Junior USMNT Head Coach. “Although some periods of the game were not our best, we managed to win the game, which is a huge gain. We’re looking forward to video, practice [today] and getting ready for game four.”

U-16 USMNT 4 – 1 Chile

Game three was a physical match with Chile breaking quickly while attacking and defending with numbers. This strategy earned three penalty corners in under five minutes for the host team. Although their first two chances went awry, Chile converted on the third attempt off a rebound to take the 1-0 lead. The red, white and blue kicked up the intensity for the remainder of the frame, and even though all their forwards put on a high press, USA could not score.

USA faltered in their defense in the second period, only to give away three penalty corners and an easy goal at the 25th minute mark to make it 2-0. When Danish Singh (Phoenix, Ariz.) took possession from a pass by Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) a mere 20 yards out, a goal seemed almost certain. Unfortunately, the shot went inches wide leaving the score 2-0 at halftime.

USA came in to the third period determined to score. Namit Mangat (Glendale, Ariz.) sent a long pass from midfield into the circle. With a slight redirect from Singh, USA cut Chile’s lead to 2-1. Chile continued to apply pressure and was able to convert on a penalty corner in the last minute of the frame adding one back to make it 3-1.

Chile added their final goal on a penalty corner conversion from an unfortunate bounce off the USA goalkeeper’s pads in the fourth quarter. The final score finished 4-1 to Chile.

U-20 USMNT 2 – 1 Chile

The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team recorded its second victory in this four-game series with Chile in a nerve wrecking 2-1 battle.

In this tight match, Chile opened with two quick attempts on goal. Subsequent penalty corner chances by the USA in the 4th minute and Chile in the 11th minute were both denied. USA edged to an early lead by capitalizing on a series of good connections initiated by Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) to quickly move the ball upfield after defending a Chile penalty corner. With an assist from Colin Hennessy (Marlborough, Mass.), Alex Curtis (London, United Kingdom) slid his shot around the on-rushing Chile goalkeeper to open the scoring 1-0.

The second quarter was an even contest, with both teams sharing possession and earning chances to score. Score remained 1-0 at the end of the half.

Feeling pressure to post a win, Chile was looking to capitalize on any USA errors. Frustration for the host increased after earning two penalty corners but no avail. When Alberto Montilla (Allen, Texas) stepped up to score what would become the winning goal in the third quarter, Chile redoubled their efforts. In the final minute of the period, Chile manufactured a penalty corner goal to bring the score to 2-1.

As the temperature began to climb, the impact of the heat and exertion was beginning to take its toll on both squads. In the fourth quarter, USA continued to try to force the ball into areas where they could generate turnovers and capitalize on quick counters. Both teams had the chance to win the match in an even contest, but ultimately USA downed Chile 2-1.

The U.S. U-16 and U-20 Men's National Teams will have their fourth and final game of the series today, Friday, March 15 at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET. For more information regarding the Junior USMNT vs. Chile series including the schedule, results, rosters and more, check out the official event page by clicking here.