SPRING CITY, Pa. - It was a hard-fought battle from the start for the No. 42 U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team when they took on No. 20 Argentina in the men’s Indoor Pan American Cup Final. Despite a game that saw USA leave it all out on the court, the red, white and blue fell to Los Leones 2-4, missing the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup qualification.
Two minutes into the match, Argentina earned a penalty corner. Off the attempt, JaJa Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.) saved it off the line, in the air to keep Los Leones out. USA recorded their first shot from Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) in the fifth minute that was saved by Argentina goalkeeper Alan Frias. Moments later, Argentina had a fast break where the shot hit the post and Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) saved the following attempt. Kentwell was issued a 1-minute green card in the seventh minute, which also resulted in an Argentina penalty corner. USA’s defensive unit remained strong as Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) deflected it away. In the final seconds of the first, Klages was tested with a baseline shot.
The second frame saw USA generate more offensive chances. A close one came in the 27th minute when Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) had a spinning pass down the Kentwell on the right baseline who passed it across to DeAngelis, whose shot went wide. A minute later, DeAngelis had another shot that hit the outside of the net. Klages came up with a big save, but the ensuing play earned Argentina a penalty stroke, which Agustin Ceballos converted to put Los Leones ahead 0-1. In the final minute of the half, Klages again was challenged and came up with the stop.
Argentina started the third with a close chance, a long ball into the circle found Ceballos who deflected it over the goal. Down the other way, Vincent Heller (Stuttgart, Germany) pushed it on Frias’ pads with no result. USA kept looking to thread forward and a long ball from Kaeppeler got through to Kentwell who earned USA a penalty corner. Kaeppeler tied the game after sending it into the net. In the 26th minute, Argentina earned a penalty corner following DeAngelis falling to the court, but Kentwell again stopped it on the goal line. Following, Harris was issued a green card for a hard tackle which also earned Los Leonos a penalty corner. USA became two athletes down on the defensive line after breaking early and Joaquin Gonzalez scored to put Argentina back ahead.
USA held possession at the start of the fourth, looking for the opportune moment to go forward. Four minutes in, Kaeppeler had a great run down the middle and passed left to DeAngelis whose shot toward goal was just missed by a running in Kaeppeler. Just under three minutes to go, USA pulled Klages for another athlete on the court. Ceballos scored again for Argentina to make it 1-3 but not before Juan Eleicegui received a green card for excessive celebration. USA kept pressuring and earned a penalty corner with 1:19 to go, that Kentwell scored to bring the red, white and blue within one. Immediately off the restart, Ceballos scored on an open goal to make the final 2-4.
Today's game also marked a historical career milestone as Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) played in his 50th international indoor match, making him the most capped men's indoor athlete. At the conclusion of the event, Harris also earned the men's IPAC Top Scorer.
For more information regarding the schedule and more, visit the Indoor Pan American Cups event page.