Sunday, August 11, 2013

Strong start by Argentina and Canada

    Match 4 - Canada vs. Brazil: 3-1 (half-time: 1-0)
In a beautiful summer afternoon, Canada immediately took control of play and were all over the Brazilian circle. 
    But the South Americans, well organized in defense, calmly thwarted the danger and Hubertus Reinbach saved the first Canadian penalty-corner, a low flick by Scott Tupper. Canada had the quasi totality of ball possession, but were committing unforced errors, or the last pass was imprecise, and the score was still 0-0 after 20 minutes of play.
     It was only in the 30th minute that veteran Dave Jameson opened the scoring on a scramble in front of the Brazilian goal to finally give Canada some reward on the scoreboard for their hard work. Half-time was reached with a very narrow lead for Canada (1-0).
     Canada continued their domination in second period, but were repeatedly denied by the Brazilian defense, including on a series of penalty-corners. As is often the case, Brazil caught the Canadian defense napping and their captain Ernst Rost Onnes scored in the 43rd minute with a clever touch of the ball in front of Dave Carter, who had replaced Antoni Kindler in the Canadian goal. That triggered an enthusiastic and well deserved celebration Brazilian style.
      Their joy was however short lived, Matthew Guest managing to pick-up the ball on a penalty-corner rebound to slot it in goal and give back the lead to Canada. Keegan Pereira increased the gap on a penalty-corner, but the Brazilians had more dangerous incursions in the Canadian camp and could have scored another goal when an attacker arrived one-on-one with goalkeeper Dave Carter, who coolly made the glove save.
    The score stayed at 3-1. Canada will be happy to grab the 3 points for the win, but will need to fine tune their efficiency in front of the goal and on penalty-corner for their next games. Brazil showed great progress and some inspired attacking moves, and will be satisfied by their good resistance against a team ranked much higher than them.

Match #1 - Argentina vs. Mexico: 13-2 (half-time: 8-0)
First match of the Pan American Cup was between top ranked team Argentina and a young and inexperienced Mexican team (average 21 years old and 17 International Caps). 
    The difference quickly showed: Argentina were on the scoreboard in the first minute by Matias Paredes and were up 4-0 within 5 minutes of play, with a hat-trick for Facundo Callioni in less than 2 minutes!
     Mexico settled their nerves, organized their defense, well backed by veteran goalkeeper Moisés Vargas García, and play became more balanced. Mexico saved the first Argentinean penalty-corner with a spectacular stick deflection by the post defender, but Argentina added 2 more goals around the 20th minute mark, by Guido Barreiros then Lucas Vila on stroke.
     Mexico were showing speed and good individual skills in midfield, but Argentina were too experienced to let them develop much danger and Juan Vivaldi was having a quiet morning in goal. Half-time was reached with a comfortable half-time lead 8-0 for Argentina.
     The Mexican defense regrouped well at the beginning of second period and Moisés Vargas García thwarted a few Argentinean attempts. Score did not evolve until the 50th minute with an “own goal” in favor of Argentina, but Mexico replied immediately with a superb goal by Argenis Vásquez García that drew loud applause from the crowd, clearly cheering for the underdog.
     Having done it once, the Mexican youngsters boldly decided that they could do it again, and scored again by Oscar Bobadilla Rosales after an hour of play. Argentina were never in trouble in this match. They added 3 goals in the final minutes against a tiring Mexican defense to cruise to a relaxed 13-2 win, but they will be unhappy with the 2 goals conceded to their young opponents.

Schedule for Sunday August 11:
9h00: Mexico vs. Uruguay
11h00: USA vs. Argentina
15h00: Brazil vs. Trinidad & Tobago
17h00 : Chile vs. Canada