SANTIAGO, Chile – In their second pool game of the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship, taking place at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, the U.S. U-22 Men’s National Team topped Trinidad and Tobago in a high pressure match. Tied heading into the final quarter, USA found the game winner with five minutes to go to secure the 3-2 win.
"Trinidad gave us a good game," said Pat Harris, U-22 USMNT Head Coach. "I think if we were more clinical with our corners, we could have won a little more comfortably, but I am still happy with the win."
The first quarter opened with a lot of back and forth play as both sides looked to break through into their attacking circle. Trinidad had the first look when a ball went through USA’s defense and the shot hit the outside of the goal. In the 9th minute, USA had back-to-back penalty corners but couldn’t get a shot off on either. Trinidad broke the deadlock three minutes later when Teague Marcano sent a drag into the net.
USA held much of the possession to start the second frame, getting off two quick opportunities. First, Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.) used clever stick work to break into the circle but was unable to find an outcome. Next, Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) had a backhand that was saved by Trinidad goalkeeper Jacques Pool-Lewis. The red, white and blue’s persistence paid off and in the 21st minute Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) earned USA a penalty corner after being taken to the turf by Pool-Lewis. On the chance, Henzor Motta’s (San Juan, Puerto Rico) drag went off the pads and Sharma was there to put the rebound into the net and tie the game. In the final minute of the quarter, USA took the lead on a penalty corner drag goal by Grewal, but that was short lived as Trinidad immediately took it down the other way and evened it at 2-2 with a goal from Joel Daniel.
Out of the halftime break, USA put their authority on the third quarter in the first few minutes. They maintained control throughout producing multiple scoring attempts and three penalty corners but were unable to disrupt Trinidad’s tight defensive structure.
Tied heading into the final quarter USA knew they had to find the back of the goal. Within a five-minute span, USA earned four penalty corners but couldn’t convert. In the 55th minute, Katz got it in front of his defender, spun and pushed it hard toward goal and Brett Eisner (Lafayette, Calif.) deflected it in for the game winner. In the final minutes, Trinidad threatened on the attacking end, but USA maintained composure to secure the 3-2 win.
"It feels great to secure three points with today’s win," said Liam Hawley (Ventura, Calif.), today's captain. "We played like a team and put it away as we should have."
The USA men finish second in Pool A and will play Chile in the semifinals on Friday, August 27 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship, visit the event page.