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Men’s Pan American Cup: Argentina and USA through to the semi-finals
09 Mar 2022 01:35

Picture PAHF / Alex Masters

On Day 2 at the Men’s Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile, Argentina and USA secured their spot in the semi-finals, while the tied game between Canada and Chile (3-3) creates a deadlock at the top of Pool B. 

Uruguay vs. USA: 0 - 9 (half-time: 0-3)

After their crucial win against Trinidad & Tobago, the USA were keen to earn three more points that would ensure their qualifications for the semi-finals. They totally dominated the first period and play was confined in the Uruguayan defensive half, apart from a spectacular counter-attack that forced Thomas SHERIDAN in the USA goal to an acrobatic save. The Americans scored three goals, the most impressive by Jarred MARTIN in the 22nd minute after a decisive individual effort in the circle.

Play became uneven in second period. The USA controlled again the proceedings, but had trouble penetrating the compact Uruguayan defense, well backed by Federico GARCIA in goal. With fatigue setting in the Uruguayan ranks, the Americans had a number of opportunities on penalty-corners and could add a few goals to their tally for a final score of 0-9, including four goals by Pat HARRIS.

Trinidad & Tobago vs. Argentina: 0 - 7 (half-time: 0-2)

After their disappointing loss to the USA on opening day, Trinidad & Tobago came back decided to show their true colors and indeed pushed backed the Argentineans on their heels for the first twenty minutes. They built up some solid opportunities and could have scored two goals if not for some decisive saves by Juan Manuel VIVALDI in the Argentinean goal. Argentina weathered the storm calmly and took advantage of a penalty corner in the 20th minute to open their tally by Lucas VILA.

He promptly scored a second penalty-corner and Trinidad & Tobago seemed to lose their initial focus. The game turned rougher and both teams were reduces to ten players for a while and no more goal was scored in the period.

A quick goal by Rodrigo VILA shortly after the break demoralized the Trinidadians and Argentina ran away with the game, scoring four more goals for a final score of 7-0 and a hat-trick for Lucas VILA.  

Brazil vs. Mexico: 1 - 9 (half-time: 0-2)

The game between Brazil and Mexico was an entertaining affair between two young and enthusiastic teams. Mexico showed that they are a relatively more experienced team (with an average of 43 international Caps against only 15 for Brazil) and circulated the ball well to take control of play. They scored two goals in first period by Francisco AGUILAR (a field goal then a penalty-corner), then AGUILAR completed his hat-trick just after the break with another penalty-corner to establish a solid lead.

Brazil never gave up though and were rewarded of their effort by a goal by Augusto FELIPE, which they celebrated in style. Mexico nevertheless maintained their control with rapid attacks, swift passes and a disciplined team effort. They managed to score 6 more goals, for a total of nine.

Chile vs. Canada: 3 - 3 (half-time: 3-2)

The last game of the day was the much anticipated clash between Chile and Canada, the two favorites in Pool B, both eager to finish top of the group to avoid Argentina in the semi-finals. The two teams have been very close to each other in the recent past, but Canada had so far maintained the upper hand.

Chile attacked the game at full speed, pressuring the Canadian defense and scoring two goals within four minutes of play, first by Esteban KRAINZ on penalty-corner then by Gabriel THIERMANN on field play! The Canadians reacted well and promptly switched the pressure to the other side of the field. They earned a series of penalty-corners of their own and Connor GRIMES finally reduced the gap to one goal in the 9th minute. Canada maintained their pressure and built a few more opportunities, but Mathias ANWANDTER stayed strong in the Chilean goal, until Wayne FERNANDES slotted his penalty-corner low to tie the score.

Having come back from hell in style, the Canadians relaxed their pressure and play became more balanced, flowing rapidly back and forth in an entertaining display well appreciated by the capacity crowd. Canada circulated the ball well but were kept under permanent pressure by a very gritty Chilean team. In a last minute push, Chile earned a penalty-corner converted by Jan RICHTER to give them a one-goal lead going into the break.

Canada had a chance to level the score early in second period but could not capitalize on the penalty-corner. Feeling that a win was possible, Chile played with more and more intensity, but could not increase their lead, Canada releasing the pressure with high balls over the midfield. Chile survived a penalty-corner thanks to an impossible save by Mathias ANWANDTER in his top left corner, but could not do anything to prevent a late Canadian equalization after a well drilled penalty-corner routine concluded by Rob SHORT.

The tie game means that the first position in the pool will most certainly be decided by goal difference after Tuesday’s games, when Canada play Mexico and Chile conclude the round-robin against Brazil.

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