USA Women’s Hockey team fall to Chile in the Semi-Final match

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Dragflick Newsdesk : In a tight game with World Cup qualification on the line, the No. 15 U.S. Women’s National Team faced hosts No. 17 Chile in the 2022 Pan American Cup (PAC) Semifinals. Through a steady first half, USA fought back from being a goal down to find the equalizer with 1:30 to go in regulation but fell in the shootout, 0-2.

Although the USWNT is heading to the bronze medal match, they are still in contention for the final spot as the top-3 women’s teams from PAC qualify for the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup.

“Certainly a tough one,” said Anthony Farry, USWNT Head Coach.

“We’ll take a look at the video, iron out some things and then move into Canada mode. Given that we have a second bite of the cherry we know how important the next one will be. We know what we’re playing for and we know that Canada are going to be exceptionally tough, it’s going to be a cracking game so we’ll recover over the next little bit and get ready to get going on game day.”

Chile came out and put USA’s defensive unit under immediate pressure. They swarmed the midfield pockets and intercepted any of USA’s forward passes. After nerves calmed, USA earned their first circle entry through Maddie Zimmer (Hershey, Pa.) in the 5th minute but couldn’t break past a yard within the arc.

A close chance came for the host nation in the 8th minute when a right corner restart entered the circle quickly and Consuelo de las Heras’ shot hit the outside of the goal. USA followed with a left baseline run by Danielle Grega (Kingston, Pa.) but her drop pass was defended by Chile goalkeeper Claudia Schuler. The quarter played out remaining scoreless.

Just before the quarter break, Chile’s Denise Krimerman Losada was issued a green card, giving USA an athlete advantage for the first minute of the second frame. Unable to capitalize on the opportunity, Chile earned the game’s first penalty corner in the 21st minute. USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas) came up big on the back-to-back attempts.

First, she logged and stopped the straight sweep, and when another was issued after the rebound hit a USA foot, she denied the shot from the inserter. USA used that defensive energy and pushed forward and two minutes later, Hope Rose (Dauphin, Pa.) found herself 1v1 with Schuler. She couldn’t get her reverse try past the goalkeeper, but the red, white and blue remained in control.

Grega earned USA their first penalty corner with 5 minutes to go but they couldn’t find an outcome. Immediately following, Chile countered and on the fast break found themselves in a numbers up situation. USA recovered well and didn’t allow a shot to be taken. As time ticked down, tensions got high and Chile’s Sofia Filipek was issued a 5-minute yellow card in the 27th minute.

USA played the remaining minutes an athlete up but couldn’t make the most of the opportunity as the teams went into the halftime break deadlocked.

With two minutes still remaining on Filipek’s card, USA started the third quarter with an athlete advantage. USA held momentum in the opening minutes, as they patiently worked it around the backfield. The midfield pockets started to open and a long ball was picked up by Zimmer who drove the baseline but her negative pass was blocked by Schuler. In the 36th minute, Chile earned two penalty corners in a row.

Before the second started, USA asked for a review claiming the ball hit the defender’s hand and not her foot. They were correct on the call but Chile continued to put USA under pressure. A hard strike forced Bing to make a diving, but when the ball was in route to goal it deflected off a USA foot, giving Chile a penalty corner. After a re-award, Bing made a glove save off a straight drag.

Still in possession Chile kept threatening and Alia Marshall (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) made a defensive save. With 1-minute to go, a USA defensive error led to back-to-back penalty corners and on the second attempt Domencia Ananias’ straight sweep got through giving the hosts an 0-1 lead.

Heading into the fourth quarter, USA knew they had to regain possession and make the most of their scoring chances. They had control in the first 5 minutes, but Chile dropped all their athletes behind their defensive-25 making it difficult to break through. In the 55th minute two chances came for USA when Zimmer crossed it from the right corner and Rose and Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) got looks that were saved by Schuler.

Three minutes later, Matson sent a cross circle ball to Zimmer whose backhand attempt sailed over the goal. With the clock winding down, a determined USA kept pushing forward and with 1:30 left in regulation, Matson found the equalizer through a backhand.

Behind a stellar performance by Schuler in the shootout, USA was unable to score through four rounds while Chile capitalized on two of their chances for the win.

The USA women will play No. 14 Canada in the PAC Bronze medal match on Saturday, January 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET. USA still has a chance to qualify for the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain and Netherlands in July, as the top-3 women’s teams from PAC earn a bid.

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