U-21 USMNT to Play in JPAC Bronze Match After Loss to Argentina

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SURREY, BC, Canada – After falling to No. 3 Argentina by a large scoreline yesterday, the No. 25 U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team rematched their opponent in the semifinals of the 2024 Junior Pan American Championships in Surrey, Canada. This time, the Junior Wolves fell to Argentina 3-0, and will play in the bronze medal match next.

Similar to yesterday’s match-up, Argentina was controlling the ball early, and earned a penalty corner that was blocked by Amar Singh (Santa Clara, Calif.) in the first minute. It was a minute later that Argentina had another set piece chance, and after the third retake, USA had a reprieve, as Singh blocked the ball and Argentina was awarded a long hit. On another subsequent set piece, USA finally earned the free hit out, as Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.) dribbled up the right and forced a foul. Argentina continued on passing the ball around their backfield, with USA hanging back low on their press.

Another Argentina penalty corner shot was blocked by Singh in the 5th minute. There were seemingly no errors from the Argentina side, until 10 minutes in when Katz intercepted a pass and looked to break up the field. Katz was stopped in his tracks by the Argentina defense and earned a green card immediately after trying to win the ball back. The Junior Wolves were able to withstand the two-minute penalty, as Argentina began to feel the frustration of having high possession without a goal to show for it. USA’s Corey Dykema (Newport News, Va.) wound down the final minute dribbling in the corner, and the score was tied 0-0 after the first quarter.

The strong defensive effort from the red, white, and blue in the first quarter to keep Argentina off the board was shattered by an early error in the circle that gave their opponent a penalty stroke. Down 1-0, the Junior Wolves were no longer bound to sticking to defense. USA’s Rory Bleeker (Liden, Netherlands) looked fired up as he dribbled up the field and sent the ball to Katz, who earned a long hit. USA found their first good look here, as Sekayi Charasika (Louisville, Ky.) sent a shot wide. Another chance up the field by Bleeker drew the foul, as the umpire showed Argentina a green card in the 21st minute. Despite being down, Argentina were able to convert on a penalty corner chance in the next minute, taking a 2-0 lead.

A botched penalty corner attempt from Argentina in minute 26 opened up the field for USA, as they connected up the field but without result. The USA defense staved off a few more attempts from Argentina in the circle, as USA headed into halftime down 2-0.

Despite being able to win the ball back defensively in many instances, the Junior Wolves were having trouble making possession passes to get the ball out of their defensive 25. In the first minutes of the third frame, Singh was back making saves in goal, as the Argentina offense continued to put the pressure on. Argentina kept pushing, faced with the steady sticks from the likes of USA defenders such as Dykema and Aneet Singh (Fremont, Calif.). The third frame ended with a bit of excitement, as Argentina looked to send a hard ball into the circle as a last-ditch effort as the final minute wound down, but the ball was intercepted by Katz. As Katz ran up the field, Argentina won the ball back, as they passed the ball up and USA’s Singh was faced with a one-on-one – which he herorically blocked. The score remained 2-0, Argentina, after the third.

A few minutes into the final frame, Argentina’s goalkeeper was forced to make his first save of the match, as USA connected some passes in their attacking 25 and entered the circle. Argentina quickly picked up where they left off, retaining possession, earning penalty corners, and forcing the USA defense to make good plays in the circle. After earning a yellow card, USA found themselves on their heels, conceding a final goal to Argentina in the final minute for a 3-0 loss.

The Junior Wolves will play in the bronze medal match on Friday, July 12 at 5:45 p.m. ET against the loser of Canada versus Chile later today.

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


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