BHUBANESWAR, India – In the match to determine final placements at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, the U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team were unable to find a result against Canada. Scoreless after the first quarter, Canada converted all goals on set pieces for the 4-0 victory.
"We need to be more disciplined to carry out the game plan over a larger period of the game," said Pat Harris, U-21 USMNT Head Coach. "Our mentality going into the game will determine how well we can do that."
Right out of the gates, Canada earned a penalty corner. Fortunately for USA, the play broke down at the top of the circle not allowing a shot on goal. Majority of the opening minutes were played between the 25-yard lines, as both teams worked the ball around, getting a feel of their opposition. In the 10th minute, USA got caught in possession and Canada had a close chance, but Shomik Chakraborty (Washington, D.C.) came out to make a diving stick tackle. USA stepped up on the attacking end, threatening the circle multiple times and with 2 minutes remaining, earned a penalty corner and Finlay Quaile’s (Castle Cary, U.K.) drag was saved off the left kicker of Canada goalkeeper Zackary Coombs. Just before the quarter break horn sounded, Canada sent a ball into the circle that was cleared dangerously by Chakraborty earning them a penalty corner. Unable to find a result, the first frame ended scoreless.
Starting much like the first quarter, Canada jumped out on the front foot, holding control in the opening minutes. Their attack paid off and in the 20th minute earned a penalty corner. Although the first chance was defended well by fly Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.), Canada scored off the second attempt when the initial slip shot deflected off the stick of Henzor Motta (San Juan, Puerto Rico) on the post and fell to Christopher Tardif who put it in. Five minutes later, Canada doubled their lead, off another penalty corner, when Alexander Bird sent a drag high into the net. USA struggled to string together any positive possession as the quarter closed out with Canada holding a 2-0 lead at the halftime break.
USA knew they had to tighten up their circle marking and make the most of their offensive opportunities to cut down the goal margin. A close chance came for Canada in the 31st minute when Sean Davis received it up ahead and his backhand shot went wide. Five minutes following, Canada jumped on a deep turnover that fell to an unmarked Davis and Flynn McCulloch took the shot that sailed over the goal. In the 38th minute, undisciplined defense by USA on a restart inside the 25 was upgraded to a Canada penalty corner. McCulloch converted on a drag into the net to extend the lead to 3-0. USA started pressing higher and created attack through Quaile when he drove the circle and fired a low angle backhand shot. Possession shifted to the other end, where Canada earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 43rd minute but couldn’t find an outcome. As time ticked down and with 23 seconds remaining in the quarter, Tyler Kim (Arlington, Mass.) used individual skill to break into the circle and earn USA a penalty corner. Unfortunately, there was miscommunication on the play and USA was unable to score.
The first half of the final quarter saw shared possession with USA threatening their circle a handful of times. In the 52nd minute, Canada crossed a ball in front of the goal that resulted in a collision with Chakraborty and ensued a penalty corner. The drag was deflected by the post and went off the body of Motta earning Canada a penalty stroke, where Bird stepped up and converted. Although trailing, USA didn’t let up and continued to look ahead, working the ball up-field. The final score stood at 4-0 with Canada claiming the win.
USA will play in the 15th/16th place game on Saturday, December 4 at 12:00 a.m. ET against either Chile or Egypt.
For more information regarding the 2021 FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, visit the event page.