Field Hockey Canada > Canada Defeats USA 1-0 – Moves on to Finals

Canada Defeats USA 1-0 – Moves on to Finals

August 16, 2013 | Field Hockey Canada |

This match between Canada and the USA was a rematch of the Final of the 2009 Pan American Cup in Chile, when the Canadians narrowly edged the American 2-1 after overtime.

The Americans started at full speed, challenging Dave Carter in the Canadian goal twice in the opening minute of play and forcing a penalty-corner, but the Canadian goal-keeper was on the ball with a diving stick save.  USA kept their momentum going for the opening 7 minutes, then Mark Pearson forced a penalty-corner for Canada, but Scott Tupper’s low flick was well guarded by Sean Harris on the post.

The tone of the match was clearly given, with fast attacking hockey from both teams. Canada opened the scoring in the 10th minute by rooky Sukhpal Panesar, receiving a cross from the left, pivoting away from his guard and hammering a bullet out of reach of Chris Rea in the USA goal.

The high tempo of play continued relentlessly, much to the entertainment of the crowd. There was not much build-up in midfield, and balls were travelling quickly to high attackers at both ends of the pitch, with neither team managing to take control of the proceedings.

Matthew Guest had a strong attempt after powering his way into the circle, then Iain Smythe, then Scott Tupper on penalty-corner but the Americans weathered the storm and suddenly surged forward in the final minutes of the period, besieging the Canadian circle and earning two penalty-corners in the final minute of play. Scott Tupper managed a fantastic high stick save on Pat Harris’ flick and the break was reached with the one-goal lead for Canada, but the clear feeling that the match could go either way.

Second period started with the same scenario of both teams going wildly at each other without holding back anything. Play was entertaining for the spectators, but messy at times with unforced errors and passes going astray on both sides. With time passing and neither team able to make a meaningful move on the scoreboard, emotions started to boil up, both on the pitch, in the stands and on the team benches.

The USA forced a penalty-corner in the 50th minute but could not capitalize, then were hindered by a yellow card. Clock was slowly ticking down, although probably too slowly for the nervous home fans realizing that a one-goal lead could evaporate quickly in this kind of match.  Canada however was not trying to protect their lead and kept pushing for the break.

It never came but a yellow card to Dave Jameson allowed a late surge from the Americans who had replaced their goalkeeper with an extra attacker. Under intense pressure and despite their tiring legs, the Canadians managed to hold the fort until the end.

Canada will play against their arch-rivals Argentina in the final for the last spot in next years World Cup on Saturday at 7pm EST.

For more information and pictures of CAN vs. USA, click here. Follow the action live @FieldHockeyCan.