USA Men’s National Team Seeking a Ticket to the 2018 Pan Am Championships.
The Senior USA Men’s National Team traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Mexico City, Mexico on Monday to compete in the 2018 North American and Caribbean Championships. This NorCa tournament will qualify three teams for the 2018 Pan Am Championships, to be held later this year in Greenland.
The USA men opened the competition against heavily favored Cuba. The Cubans jumped out to an early lead right from the opening whistle, but the USA men hung with them for the first 15 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, the moment the MNT hit an offensive dry spell, the Cubans launched a lengthy and productive offensive effort, punctuated by quick outlet passes and odd numbered attacks. The Cubans opened up a lead that would never be challenged. Cuban quickness and a porous American defense led to 21-13 halftime advantage.
For the USA, Sam Hoddersen scored four goals, while Jordan Fithian tallied three. Chris Morgan and Michael Lee each had two goals, John Evans one, and Goal Keeper Alden Mezick fired in a lengthy empty-net goal.
Coming out of halftime the men would try to turn things around and they certainly found their scoring groove, almost doubling their first half output and putting 17 goals on the board in the second half. This dramatic increase in scoring efficiency, coupled with an aggressive defense and some key stops from goalie Gabe Goodreau would make the second half a much more competitive affair. While the Cubans outscored the Americans 20-17, there was no quit from the USA.
Sam Hoddersen fired in eight goals for a total of twelve for the game. Sean Zimber scored three times, Ford Dyke and Ryan Potocnik each scored twice for the Americans, while Morgan and Lee each scored another goal each.
With a blend of veteran players and some up and coming players coming out of the Olympic Training Site at Auburn University, the men are still finding their groove. Coach Javier Garcia-Cuesta’s squad will return to the court tomorrow to take on the Dominican Republic at 4pm EDT.