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USMNT Look to Defend Bronze Title after Falling to Argentina in PAG Semifinals

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SANTIAGO, Chile – In the semifinals of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023, the No. 23 U.S. Men’s National Team were up for a challenge against a skilled No. 7 Argentina. It was important match, with the winner moving on to the final and claiming a guaranteed spot in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. USA held their ground, keeping Argentina to their lowest goal total throughout the tournament, but produced no goals of their own as Los Leones came out on top 2-0.

The USMNT will play in the bronze medal game and look to defend their title from 2019 on Friday, November 3 at 4:30 p.m. ET. For the men, the teams that finish in second and third secure their places at an FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier, taking place in January 2024.

"Our strategy against Argentina was to maintain a strong defensive stance and minimize unforced errors, which the team executed well," said Harry Singh, USMNT Head Coach, after the game. "I'm proud of the overall performance, especially our defensive efforts."

"We understand the importance of the upcoming matches for a medal and qualification, and we'll continue to focus on our game, strategy and teamwork to be well-prepared for the challenges ahead."

USA came out sitting in a tight half-field defensive press knowing they would have to absorb as much of Argentina’s attack as possible. When they won control, the Wolves held possession with patience and looked to threaten forward at the opportune moment. Off their first circle entry in the 6th minute, Los Leones earned a penalty corner and USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) made the save. Two minutes following a run down the left side by Tadeo Marcucci forced Klages off his line to make the stop. Shortly after, Argentina lost their referral on what they thought was a penalty corner. Los Leones remained on attack for the closing minutes as USA disrupted any look they had on goal, defending the shots before it made it close to goal.

Argentina continued to be an offensive treat and saw a backhand shot sail over the goal. The Wolves produced their first circle penetration when Jack Heldens (Hamburg, Germany) entered off the left baseline. He tried to hit it through for a pass, but it hit a USA foot. In the 22nd minute, Los Leones persistence paid off on a give-and-go through Marcucci that was finished by Lucas Martinez. A minute later Argentina almost doubled their lead but to no avail. USA fended off three set pieces at the conclusion of the period to keep the score at 0-1.

USA gathered a circle entry after Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) won a free hit in the right corner and passed to Heldens at the top, but he was unable to get a shot. In the 34th minute, Argentina added to their lead when Tomas Domene sent a long sweep in that was deflected by Santiago Tarazona. With 5 minutes to go before the break, a baseline entry for Argentina resulted in two shots and both were stopped by Klages. Immediately down the other way, USA won their first penalty corner. On the chance, the drag by Aki Kaeppeler (New York City, N.Y.) was saved by a standing Argentina goalkeeper Tomas Santiago. With a little more than a minute to go, Finlay Quaile (Castle Cary, Great Britain) was issued a 10-minute yellow for a sliding tackle. This put USA under a lot of pressure as Argentina had an athlete advantage. Moments later it looked like Los Leones scored but upon review it was called back. Argentina closed the frame with a penalty corner that was saved off the line by Nicolas Kuehne (Munich, Germany).

Trailing 0-2, the Wolves knew they had to dig deep in the final quarter especially being down an athlete for majority of it. Argentina continued to make their offensive presence known and kept threatening forward. USA handled the pressure and saw a Los Leones goal disallowed in the 54th minute and fended off two set pieces. Although they generated some attack, the USA couldn’t get a positive penetration as they fell 0-2.

Today’s contest marked a career milestone for Paul Singh (Simi Valley, Calif.) who played in his 100th international cap for Team USA.

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The USA men will play No. 17 Canada on Friday, November 3 at 4:30 p.m. ET for the bronze medal.

For more information regarding the 2023 Pan American Games, visit the event page


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