The U.S. rebounded from an opening match loss yesterday with a huge 26-25 win over Cuba. Going into the match both sides knew that a loss would likely put them out of contention so it was no surprise that the match would be hotly contested. The match was back and forth throughout with several lead changes, and the margin never being greater than two goals. In the first half, the teams traded leads seven times on the way to a 14-14 tie at the break.
The second half was more of the same with neither side able to gain a significant advantage. Emblematic of the see-saw affair was the 24-22 lead the U.S took on a Sam Hoddersen wing shot with 7 minutes remaining in the game. Seemingly, the U.S. was getting some separation just at the right time. But, thoughts of the U.S. cruising to victory were dashed by a 3 goal Cuban run and a 25-24 Cuba lead with just 2 minutes remaining. Following a U.S. time out, the match was first tied by a Gary Hines goal. With 22 seconds remaining and the score tied, Drew Donlin forced a 7M penalty. Ty Reed scored the resulting penalty shot for the U.S. to take a 26-25 lead. Cuba then turned the ball over in the waning seconds to secure the win for the U.S.
Left Wing, Sam Hoddersen, led the U.S. with 7 goals on 10 shots. Circle Runner, Patrick Hueter also had a solid game scoring 5 goals on 7 shots. Other U.S. scoring: Abou Fofana (5), Gary Hines (4), Ty Reed (3), Ian Hueter (1), Greg Inahara (1). Cuba was led in scoring by Pedro Veitia and Reinier Taboada with 5 goals each.
USA goalie, Nicolas Robinson, also had a strong performance with some key saves in the 2nd half.
Full Statistics: Link
Video Replay: Link
Coaching Staff Comments: “It’s great to experience a victory in the PANAM Games against a quality opponent like Cuba. We’ve played Cuba before, but this was their best roster with all of their professional players available. With this tournament you can experience both a hard loss and a great win in a very short time span. We have an important task tomorrow vs a very good Chile team. And, we will need more consistent play all around in order to beat them.”
The match vs Chile tomorrow will be at 4:30 PM (US ET). If, as expected, Brazil defeats Chile later tonight the match between the U.S. and Chile will be for 2nd place in the group.