BHUBANESWAR, India – In their second pool game of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, taking place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India, the U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team used learnings from their previous match when they took on Korea. Although presented with a handful of scoring opportunities, it was Korea who made the most of their chances to secure the 5-1 victory.
“I think we played well and we had chances,” said Pat Harris, U-21 USMNT Head Coach. “Unfortunately, we didn’t score on those."
"If we scored early the result could have been slightly different. We are still working on improving our finishing in the circle and not giving away easy defensive penalty corners.”
Within the first four minutes of the game, USA found themselves trailing after Seungwoo Lee got Korea on the board with a hard backhand shot. The red, white and blue remained poised and used quick midfield passing to work the ball down field and register a shot on goal when it was redirected from the top forcing goalkeeper Daehan Jang to make the save. The middle of the quarter saw some back-and-forth play before Korea extended their lead off a penalty corner converted by Jun Seong Jeong in the 12th minute. USA goalkeeper Shomik Chakraborty (Washington, D.C.) was forced to make a save in the final seconds to keep the match at 2-0.
USA started the second quarter with more attack, trying to make the most of every possession. Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) saw a close chance go unfinished, but he responded by earning USA a penalty corner. Unable to convert off a broken play, Korea immediately countered but USA recovered to cut down the attempt. In the 22nd minute, both sides saw close opportunities go unanswered. Korea’s Geonwoo Park found himself wide open in front of Chakraborty who rushed out through the ball to deny the clean reception. USA immediately worked it down field where Finlay Quaile (Castle Cary, U.K.) drove inside the circle and fired a shot to the far post that a laid-out Damien Tarala (Norwalk, Conn.) narrowly missed. Although USA held much of the possession in the frame, it was Korea who made the most of their opportunities tacking on another in the 27th minute through Gydong Hwang on a penalty corner.
In the third quarter, Korea started quick earning a penalty corner just 45 seconds into the frame. Unable to find a result, the match played out between the 25-yard lines before Korea earned another chance in the 36th minute. This time, Taeho Kim scored on a low drag to make it 4-0. This sparked a frenzy of action as a minute later, USA earned a penalty corner and Amrinderpal Singh’s (Eastvale, Calif.) drag was deflected. Off the long penalty corner, it worked down to Jatin Sharma (South San Francisco, Calif.) on the right baseline who passed it across goal to Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.) who collected and put it in to cut the margin. Off the restart, USA broke down Korea’s attack and a threaded ball found Katz ahead with space who earned a penalty corner after a defender deliberately put it over the end line. Unable to find an outcome, Korea stretched the field with numbers and forced Chakraborty far out of goal to contest, but his challenge missed the ball and he was issued a 5-minute yellow card. With Phil Schofield (Moorpark, Calif.) substituted in, the score remained 5-1 in favor of Korea to close out the third.
USA started the fourth quarter an athlete down as Tymen Kloen (Amsterdam, Netherlands) served out a 5-minute yellow card issued in the 44th minute. This started a string of infractions when Katz earned the same card in the 47th minute, and just as Kloen’s expired Henzor Motta (San Juan, Puerto Rico) was called for the same foul. With only nine athletes, USA’s defensive unit held strong to fend off multiple threats from Korea. A persistent USA, with an athlete down, earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 52nd and 53rd minutes but couldn’t find a result. Schofield came up with two big saves in the final minute and half to keep the final score at 5-1.
USA has tomorrow off and will play their final pool game on Sunday, November 28 against The Netherlands at 4:00 a.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2021 FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup, visit the event page.