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USMNT Top Brazil to Finish Second in Pool B at Pan American Games

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SANTIAGO, Chile – The No. 23 U.S. Men’s National Team faced No. 35 Brazil in their final pool game of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023. USA jumped to an early 2-0 first quarter lead and added another two in the second. The Wolves sealed it with one more in the third on their way to a 5-1 win.

With the victory, the USMNT finished second in Pool B and will play No. 7 Argentina, who finished first in Pool A, in the Semifinals on Wednesday, November 1 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

"Today, we wanted to play simple hockey," commented Harry Singh, USMNT Head Coach, following the game. "Brazil played us tough but I'm glad our boys didn’t panic and concede any early goals after we scored."

We now have two days to rest, recover and plan which is highly important as we know the semifinals is never an easy task against any team."

Patience was key for the USA in the first quarter as the opening minutes saw Brazil in a deep press making it difficult to threaten forward. The Wolves produced their first circle entry in the 4th minute when Christian DeAngelis (Doylestown, Pa.) got it off the right baseline, but he couldn’t find an outcome. Brazil got their first look on goal in the 8th minute, but their shot was saved by the glove of USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany). In the 11th minute, Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) received an overhead in the right corner and sent a hard ball through the circle and Kai Kokolakis (Melbourne, Fla.) got in front of his defender to deflect it in and make it 1-0. Less than 2 minutes later, the Wolves tallied again when A. Kaeppeler converted on a penalty corner. Brazil closed out the quarter with a set piece, but the score remained with USA leading 2-0.

Brazil had the better of the start of the second frame, producing more penetrations and earning four penalty corners. Klages made two saves off the set pieces and Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) cleared one out of the air. Momentum started to shift in favor of the USA and in the 27th minute they capitalized on a defensive penalty corner fast break. The ball got up ahead to Stuart Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.) who passed it to Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) who was taken to the turf inside the circle to earn a penalty stroke. A. Kaeppeler stepped up, scored and extended the lead to 3-0. The Wolves were not done and added another in the final minute. Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) had a great run on the left baseline and pushed it toward goal and earned a penalty corner. A. Kaeppeler converted to register a hat trick and make it 4-0.

Brazil started the third quarter down an athlete as Joaquin Lopez received a 5-minute yellow card with 28 seconds left in the previous half. In the 33rd minute, an overhead received by Jack Heldens (Hamburg, Germany) just outside the top of the circle was upgraded to a penalty corner as the Brazil defender was not 5 yards on the reception. On the set piece, A. Kaeppeler spun and passed it left to K. Kaeppeler whose shot was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Rodrigo Faustino. The Wolves earned another and on the second chance, A. Kaeppeler scored high into the net to make it 5-0. The 34th minute started a frenzy of cards after USA earned two greens by Grewal and Finlay Quaile (Castle Cary, Great Britain). This didn’t stop the ability of the red, white and blue and they earned an attacking penalty corner just when full strength was regained. It looked as though A. Kaeppeler tallied his fifth of the game but the goal was called off as the trap hit the back of the stopper’s stick. Brazil was issued back-to-back 5-minute yellow cards in the 40th and 43rd minutes but that didn’t stop them from added one back when an overhead got into the circle and Lopez batted it out of the air.

The final-15 saw Brazil down an athlete for majority of the period as Lopez was issued a 10-minute yellow in the 49th minute. The 5-1 score line went unchanged and limited chances were present on frame.

"We knew a tie was enough but we wanted to play for the win today," said A. Kaeppeler, who tallied four of today's goals. "Of course the earlier we score the better it is to ease into the game but we also knew we’d have to play with a lot of patience today and keep moving their block. They kept the center really compact so we knew if we moved the ball around for a couple of transfers spaces will open up in the outside to exploit."

The USA men will face No. 7 Argentina on Wednesday, November 1 in the semifinals at 5:00 p.m. ET.

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


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