SANTIAGO, Chile – The U.S. U-22 Men’s National Team were unable to overcome Chile in the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship Semifinals. At the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, USA was trailing by one at the half but the hosts used speed and precision to add another three for the final 4-0 win.
"For three quarters we did well," said Pat Harris, U-22 USMNT Head Coach. "In the end, we weren’t focused enough on defense and that is what let us down. So that’s the fix for us tomorrow. If we do that, we give ourselves a chance."
The first half of the opening quarter saw neither team break into their attacking 25. Chile got on the board first in the 9th minute off a penalty corner drag from Andrés Pizzaro. USA tried to use the momentum off the goal to spark their own offense but the connections on their final passes into the circle were missing. Chile closed out the final two minutes with another penalty corner, that was blocked by flyer Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.), and a shot that was saved by USA goalkeeper Shomik Chakraborty (Washington, D.C.).
Chile held much of the possession in the second frame as they continued to test USA’s defensive unit. They had a few close chances that were either saved by Chakraborty or pressured hard by USA to force the wide shot. In the 26th minute, Tyler Kim (Arlington, Mass.) received a green card and USA maintained composure to play out those two minutes without allowing a result and keeping the score at 0-1 heading to halftime.
USA started the third quarter strong, moving the ball up field and generating attack. A lapse came in the 35th minute when Chile earned back-to-back penalty corners. The first attempt was saved by Chakraborty and the second was miss trapped which forced a backhand shot that was defended well. A close chance came for USA when an aerial thrown down field was received by Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) who used speed to get in the circle, produce a shot and earn penalty corner. Unable to convert on the initial attempt, Gerald Cutone (Reading, Mass.) intercepted the next play and was fouled hard just outside the circle to earn another attempt for USA. Unable to find an outcome, Chile immediately countered to earn a penalty corner of their own. The first shot was saved off the goal line by Liam Hawley (Ventura, Calif.) and on the ensuing play, Pizzaro buried another drag into the corner to make the score 0-2.
Chile resumed their attacking control to start the fourth quarter and almost extended their lead in the 49th minute when a backhand shot hit off the crossbar and they were unable to get the rebound shot off. They continued to pressure and two minutes later Agustin Valenzuela received an aerial ball, drove the circle and ripped a shot into the net to make it 0-3. With two minutes remaining Amar Khokhar (Valencia, Calif.) almost cut the margin after using individual skill to get through Chile’s defense but his shot was saved off the glove off goalkeeper Agustin Araya. Almost immediately, Chile worked it down to their end and make it 0-4 off a goal from Francisco Cerda for the win.
The USA men will play in the 3rd/4th game against Canada tomorrow, August 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship, visit the event page.