Strong Performance Lifts USWNT Over Canada at PAC
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES TAKEN BY WORLD SPORT PICS/RODRIGO JARAMILLO & MAURICIO PALMA/HOCKEY CHILE
SANTIAGO, Chile – In their second pool game of the 2022 Pan American Cup (PAC), taking place at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team faced a tough No. 13 Canada. Scoreless through the first three quarters, Canada scored first but USA tallied three unanswered to claim the 3-1 victory.
"Today's game plan was around trying to play to our strengths, set our structures and make sure we were really disciplined with that and pick and choose our moments to be really aggressive," said Anthony Farry, USWNT Head Coach. "I thought we were able to control play for good periods so we were reasonably happy with that."
Going into this match, USA knew it was going to be a battle with a familiar opponent. The opening quarter saw limited chances, as there were only a total of looks on frame. Canada’s came in the 6th minute when Brienne Stairs got off a backhand shot that USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) saved off her body. Two minutes later came USA’s chance when Sofia Southam (Ann Arbor, Mich.) swept it toward goal and Danielle Grega’s (Kingston, Pa.) tip was saved by Canada goalkeeper Rowan Harris, and on the follow-up, her shot fell on top of the goal net. Beth Yeager (Greenwich, Conn.) had a perfectly set up shot through Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) and Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) but it was deflected over the goal. The quarter played out as the score remained deadlock at 0-0.
Action in the circles in the second quarter didn’t pick up until 12 minutes in when Canada’s Natalie Sourisseau broke into their attacking end, but solid USA defense shut down the attempt. Thirty seconds to go before the halftime break, Canada was in their circle again but strong defense by red, white and blue stopped the chance which led to an instant counterattack. At the other end with 8 seconds remaining, USA earned the game’s first penalty corner but couldn’t convert.
With few scoring chances present, USA knew they had to make the most of their opportunities to get on the board. Four minutes in, USA had a spell of breaks and earned a penalty corner when Matson was fouled using crafty dribbling skills but no result was found. In the 37th minute, Canada’s Alison Lee was issued a green card for intentionally knocking the ball away, giving USA an athlete advantage. This sparked momentum and Grega used great elimination skill to get a backhand shot off that was saved off the shoulder of Harris. Possession shifted and Canada earned back-to-back penalty corners but were met by a stout USA defense. As time wound down, a great threaded ball by Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.) found Matson in the circle whose backhand shot was saved.
USA started the fourth quarter down a player as Jillian Wolgemuth (Mount Joy, Pa.) was issued a 5-minute yellow card at the end of the previous frame for physical play. Three minutes in Canada broke the deadlock when Stairs collected the rebound and scored. The lead was short lived as off the restart, USA immediately worked it downfield and earned a penalty corner of their own. After Canada broke the line early forcing them to defend with three field players, USA evened the score when Karlie Kisha (Hamburg, Pa.) tucked in the rebound. Back to a tied match, the final three minutes were action packed. In the 57th minute, USA took the lead after Yeager used a quick restart to get the ball ahead to Ashley Sessa (Schwenksville, Pa.) who weaved her way into the circle, beat three Canada defenders and ripped a low backhand into the corner. In the 58th minute, Canada pressed ahead and threatened the score line by earning a penalty corner. USA immediately referred the play claiming the foul on Canada and the call was reversed. In the 59th minute, USA stepped on the gas and earned a penalty corner and although the initial shot was blocked, Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.) drove it into the net to secure the 3-1 win.
“I thought [it] was a really gritty game,” commented Magadan, USWNT Captain, following the match. “It was a hard-fought win and Canada put up a great fight. We were able to stay in the game and get those critical goals.”
The USA women will play their final Pool B game on Sunday, January 23 against No. 34 Peru at 2:15 p.m. ET.
For more information regarding the 2022 Pan American Cups, visit the event page.
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