Chances for USA were present in the first quarter as the red, white and blue held much of the attacking possession. In the 7th minute, Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.) showed great intercept mentality, picking up the ball just below the halfway line and getting it ahead to Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany). He drove the top of the circle and got it to Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) supporting on the right but South Africa goalkeeper Siyavuya Nolutschungu was there to make the baseline save. As USA remained on the front foot, they earned two penalty corner opportunities but both attempts, taken through Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany), were unsuccessful. With one minute remaining in the opening frame, South Africa earned a penalty stroke after the drag from their own penalty corner was stopped on the line by the body of Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.). Jethro Eustice stepped up and converted to give the hosts the 0-1 lead.
USA continued to threaten forward grabbing a circle entry within the first few minutes. In the 20th minute, South Africa capitalized on a man-up situation following a green card issued to Adam Miller (Panama City, Fla.) for a hard stick foul. A deep USA miss trap resulted in the home team running the right baseline, which pulled USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) off his line. The ball was dumped back toward the penalty mark and as a South Africa striker was attempting to shoot, he was tackled from behind by USA player so a penalty stroke was issued. Eustice again converted in the 21st minute to double South Africa’s lead to 0-2. The hosts added one more in the final minute on an overhead, fast break that was run down by Owen Mvimbi that pulled Klages out of the goal. Keenan Horne followed up and pushed it through traffic as O. Mvimbi finished to make it 0-3 at the half.
The opening minutes of the third quarter saw chances for both South Africa and USA but no results were found. A missed penalty corner attempt by USA was immediately countered on by South Africa as they earned one of their own. On the try, Barminski was credited with a defensive save on the post as the home team continued to threaten, winning two more penalty corners in the quarter. With 2 minutes remaining, South Africa extended their lead to 0-4 following quick ball movement up the right side that ended with a goal by Dayaam Cassieum.
The fourth quartered started with South Africa being issued double cards in the 47th minute. A green card was given to Samkelo Mvimbi, but it was the 5-minute yellow card to Nqobile Ntuli that USA exploited. In the final minute of that penalty, K. Kaeppeler took a free hit just outside the circle quickly, drove toward the right baseline and found Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) for a tap in at close range. Adding a goal back sparked USA’s attack as they immediately followed up with a penalty corner, but no outcome was found. With seconds remaining in the match, South Africa tally one more as Taine Paton added his name to the scoresheet to bring the final score to 1-5.
USA Field Hockey would like to thank Shoott South Africa for providing the live stream coverage and commentators for the test series. To rewatch any of the four matches from the series, click here.
The next scheduled events for the U.S. Men’s National Team are two 3 Nations Tournaments in June, one taking place in Wales and the other in Ireland. For more information regarding the USMNT vs. South Africa series, visit event page by clicking here.