U-21 USMNT With Close Loss to Chile in Opening 2024 JPAC Match

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SURREY, BC, Canada – The No. 25 U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team opened their campaign at the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships against No. 17 Chile at Tamanawis Park in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. In an extremely close match, Chile found a goal in the final minute to defeat USA, 2-1.

"The boys fought hard today and we had lots of momentum, but struggled to create goal scoring chances," said U.S. U-21 Men's National Team Head Coach Pat Harris. "We will look at fixes and how we can improve that tomorrow in an important match versus Canada."

It was early on the attack for USA, who earned the first penalty corner of the match just 45 seconds in, but without a result. Quick transitions up and down the field called for strong defense from both sides, including Leo Zarnkow (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) getting out of a tough spot in the righthand defensive corner for USA. Despite finding a few connections up the sides, the Junior Wolves were unable to find what they needed to make their way into Chile’s circle again. In the remaining minutes, a step-up in the midfield from captain Namit Mangat looked promising, but unable USA could not capitalize on the opportunity.

Chile’s hard pressure finally paid off when they found their own penalty corner chance with just 30 seconds left in the frame. USA Goalkeeper Amar Singh (Santa Clara, Calif.) was up for the task, stopping Chile’s drag flick and sending it wide of the cage. The first quarter finished with the teams tied up, 0-0.

The Junior Wolves were looking for chances to start off the second, as 2 minutes in Sekayi Charasika (Louisville, Ky.) took shot on net that went just wide. With 8 minutes remaining in the quarter, USA settled down the play, holding some sustained possession in the backfield, waiting for an opportunity for the field to open up. Eventually it led to a turnover, as Chile drove back up the field and forced Singh to make another save. An interception on a pass deep into the circle from Mees Kloen (Amsterdam, Netherlands) gave USA respite for a moment, before Chile was back with the pressure. The clock wound down to end the half without a score.

The play continued back and forth in the third quarter, each team looking for their chance. A long ball up the middle of the field at 35-minutes in looked dangerous for Chile, but it passed over the end line without consequence. Another big chance for Chile was just inches away from the cage but again could not be cashed in. Chile’s next chance would come at minute 39 with a penalty corner, which was missed at the top and sailed out to USA’s Noah Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), who sent a ball up to Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.), but the ball went harmlessly over the end line. The match went into the final frame tied at 0-0.

It was Chile in the 47th minute who broke the spell – a scramble in the circle led them taking a 1-0 lead. Eager to tie it back up, the Junior Wolves were right back in their attacking 25, earning a penalty corner opportunity. This would finally be productive for USA, as Mehtab Grewal (Somis, Calif.) ramped in Charasika’s shot to even the score at 1-1 in the 48th minute. With 3 minutes left in the match, a Chile set piece chance was defended well by USA, with Singh making a strong clear out. After a few minutes of more back and forth play, it was a penalty corner chance for Chile with less than a minute to play. After a mistrap at the top, Chile gathered the ball back and sealed their 2-1 win with a reverse shot.

The Junior Wolves will play their second match on Thursday, July 4, against host No. 14 Canada at 11:00 p.m. ET.

For more information regarding the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships, visit the event page.


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