Abou Fofana soars high for a shot vs Argentina; photo courtesy: Lima 2019
The USA men lost their Pan American Games opening match last night to Argentina, 38-25. That match started out relatively even with the U.S. staying in contact, trailing just 8-7 at the 13 minute mark. However, at that point a combination of two minute penalties, turnovers and empty net goals allowed Argentina to go on an 11-2 run in just 10 minutes time. The U.S. was able to claw back the lead some in the closing minutes, but the damage was done with Argentina going into the break with a 21-12 lead.
The U.S. played more consistently in the second half, but could not make a dent into Argentina’s big lead. While the second half was closer, Argentina, a perennial World Championship participant still won the half 17-12 for the resulting 38-25 final score
Gary Hines and Abou Fofana led the U.S. in scoring with 7 goals each. Other goals scorers for the U.S were Sam Hoddersen (3), Ty Reed (3), Ian Hueter (2), Sean Zimber (1), Greg Inahara (1), Sayed Shalabi (1). Santiago Baronetto led Argentina with 7 goals.
USA – ARG Statistics: Link
Video Replay: Link
USA Men's Head Coach, Robert Hedin, summed up last night’s performance: “It’s not possible to win a game with 18 turnovers. We need to play cleaner handball and improve on defense. Our next step is to focus on a physical Cuba team. With less than 24 hours to play we need to make corrections and do our job to beat Cuba.”
And, indeed this afternoon the U.S. will take on Cuba in a match that will essentially be an elimination match for both sides. Cuba also lost their opening match, 38-28 vs Chile, and both sides will be looking to avoid going 0-0-2 in Group Play. This past April, Cuba defeated the U.S. 37-36 at the IHF North America & Caribbean Emerging Nations championship, so the U.S. will be looking for an opportunity to turn the tables and keep their semifinal hopes alive.
Watch ESPN: Link