Canada Defeats U-21 USMNT in Second Pool Game of JPAC
by USA Field Hockey
IMAGES TAKEN BY WORLD SPORT PICS
SAINT MICHAEL, Barbados – The U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team took on Canada in their second match of the 2023 Junior Pan American Championships at the Wildey Hockey Centre located in the Sir Garfield Sobers Sport Complex in Saint Michael, Barbados. Despite a promising start, USA struggled to keep a coherent defense, while Canada retained their composure throughout the match and scored a goal each quarter for a 4-0 win.
“We started the game strong and had chances to take the lead,” said Pat Harris, U-21 USMNT Head Coach. “Canada was very efficient on their counter attacks. We will look at the video, reflect and then shift our focus to our final pool match against Barbados tomorrow.”
The first quarter started off with evenly matched play, looking like the game could go either way for the two teams. Canada kept their press closer to the 50-yard line, which caused USA to have some trouble transitioning into attack. Despite this, the Junior Wolves' play looked promising, with a shot by Wyatt Katz (Santa Rosa Valley, Calif.) at the 4-minute mark, followed by some very solid passing patterns down the sideline. In the 7th minute, there was a scrum in front of the Canada cage, which eventually was called coming out for Canada. USA asked for a video review of the play, but the call remained unchanged. The back-and-forth play continued for a bit, until a miss trapped pass by USA allowed Canada to break out. Ravpreet Gill pulled around the USA goalkeeper Emil Collins (Christchurch, New Zealand) and pushed it into the net to put Canada up 1-0.
Canada showed some increased energy and higher pressure to start the second quarter, while USA still seemed to be finding their footing. It was much of the same as the end of the first frame, as USA's defense was unable to stop Canada from pushing through. Collins in goal made the initial save on a shot from Canada’s offense, but could not stop the shot by Brooklyn Aranha off the rebound. The goal put Canada up 2-0 at the 22-minute mark. In a match with a shortage of penalty corners, Canada earned their first set piece after their goal, but the shot was sent wide. After another save by Collins, USA looked to settle their play with some possession passing in the backfield. The Junior Wolves entered halftime down 2-0, seeking to make a comeback in the final 30 minutes.
In the third quarter, it became increasingly apparent that Canada had composure, while USA was still struggling to retain theirs. However, looking to get on the board, the red, white and blue finally broke into their attacking circle in the 35th minute, but were unable to capitalize on any of their chances. A quick transition by Canada allowed them their own offensive attempts, and a slip to the left in the circle saw Hudson Loh bury it past Collins. Now fighting against time and a 3-0 deficit, USA pushed up, including a demonstration of skill out of the backfield from Sekayi Charasika (Louisville, Ky.). Again, nothing materialized for USA up the field, and the Junior Wolves were down 3-0 going into the final frame.
The final quarter told a similar story - a composed Canada team putting offensive pressure on a USA defense that could not keep pace. A breakdown from USA’s line in the 54th minute gave Canada the opportunity to dribble into the circle and score their fourth and final goal of the match, leading to a 4-0 victory for Canada.
Next up, USA will play their third pool play game tomorrow, Thursday, April 13, against Barbados at 3:30 p.m. ET.
For more information regarding the Junior Pan American Championships, visit the event page.
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