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Indoor USMNT Fall in Hard-Fought Battle to Netherlands in FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Semifinals

by USA Field Hockey

Images Taken by World Sport Pics

33 photos

PRETORIA, South Africa – The No. 18 U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team and No. 7 Netherlands battled for 40 solid minutes in the 2023 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Semifinals. Entering the final quarter tied 3-3, the hard-fought match saw USA ultimately fall 7-3, but the score line doesn’t reflect the closeness of the contest as the Oranje converted two open net goals on their way to victory.

 

USA had the upper hand on offense in the first quarter, producing five shots to The Netherlands’ two, although it was the Oranje who held much of the possession. Marius Leser (Mannheim, Germany) started it in the first minute after driving the right side and flicking it from the baseline into Netherlands goalkeeper Joey van Walstijn. Moments later great teamwork off the left board ended with Stuart Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.) getting a low angle shot. Next, the Oranje tested USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) with a shot from the top before USA took it down the other way and Leser created a chance and Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) used power from a spinning shot that was stopped by Van Walstijn. USA’s persistent attack went awarded in the 8th minute from a great passing combination that started with Leser, went to Jack Heldens (Hamburg, Germany) and was finished by Harris. The quarter closed with USA holding the one goal advantage.

 

The second frame started with shared possession before The Netherlands pushed forward and earned a penalty corner in the 13th minute. Their second attempt was saved on the line off Aki Kaeppeler’s (New York, N.Y.) body giving the Oranje a penalty stroke. Max Sweering stepped up and converted to even the score at 1-1. Both sides saw a few looks on go unanswered as the half closed deadlocked.

 

An action packed third quarter saw each team score two goals apiece to keep fans on the edge of their seats. The Netherlands opened the frame with a penalty corner following a poor USA tackle outside the circle that was upgraded. Redeeming the foul, the red, white and blue read the play well as Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Calif.) defended it over the end line. The 23rd minute sparked four goals in a 4-minute span. USA started with A. Kaeppeler scoring a penalty stroke after his initial penalty corner shot hit an Oranje foot on the goal line. The Netherlands then leveled and took the lead off two defensive errors. Next, Kai Kokolakis (Melbourne, Fla.) was taken to the court inside the circle giving USA another penalty stroke, and again A. Kaeppeer scored to make it 3-3. Two minutes later, The Netherlands was awarded a penalty stroke for a hard tackle, but Klages made sure the score remained even after making a diving glove save.

 

The Netherlands produced four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, including two on an open net, on their way to the 7-3 win. The first came in the 32nd minute when Sweering redeemed himself on a penalty stroke, the fifth of the contest. The final three were field goals with two through Boris Burkhardt and one from Wiegert Schut. USA saw a handful of opportunities saved by Van Walstijn as they fought hard but couldn’t close the scoring gap.

 

Following the game, Netherlands’ Nicki Leijs was named Player of the Match.

 

USA’s journey is not over as they return to the court at 10:00 a.m. ET to face No. 3 Iran in the 3rd/4th place game. These teams met in pool play on February 6, where Iran defeated the red, white and blue 8-3.

 

For more information regarding the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, visit the event page.

 

#IHWC2023

  

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