PHOTO: Canada’s Matthew Sarmento makes his way around U.S. goalkeeper Brandon Karess in a 6-2 win on July 9, 2016 (By Stewart Johnstone/stewartgjohnstone.com)
Canada’s men’s field hockey team loves playing at home. The Rio 2016-bound Canadian team picked up its third straight win on home soil against the United States thanks largely to a high-octane offense in the first half Saturday in West Vancouver.
Canada will be looking to complete the sweep of the 2016 Summer Games Sendoff presented by London Drugs in Sunday’s finale (6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET) at Tamanawis Park in Surrey.
“It was a really good first half in this game,” says Vancouver’s Matthew Sarmento who scored twice in the winning effort. “Game 2 wasn’t too strong for us, so we wanted to build on that.”
Gordon Johnston also had two tallies, while Iain Smythe and Matthew Guest added singles to round out Canada’s scoring in the 6-2 win.
The 15th ranked Canadians – who are headed to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil next month – have outscored the 28th ranked Americans (who did not qualify) 16-6 through the first three games of pre-Olympic series. But with the Olympics on the horizon, the scoreline is less important than continued improvement for the Canadians.
“We know we’ve got stiffer competition coming up – no offense to the United States,” Sarmento adds. “When we play teams like Germany and Holland, we know they’re not going to give us as much room or time out there so we really have to make sure we’re hammering down the basics.”
Sarmento’s first quarter goal in the 11th minute was a part of a four-goal first quarter for the home team.
Canada opened the scoring in the 2nd minute when Matthew Guest was able to put one by American keeper Brandon Karess in close.
In the 9th minute, Keegan Pereira and Mark Pearson hooked up to earn a penalty corner and on the ensuring corner, Smythe put in a rebound to give Canada the 2-0 lead within the first ten minutes.
Sarmento’s goal came on a reverse shot and Johnston picked up his first goal on a penalty corner in the final player of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Canada withstood some American pressure before Johnston added another goal on a corner in the 22nd minutes and only a blink of an eye later, Sarmento picked up his 2nd of the game after a great feed from Sukhi Panesar sent him in alone to score.
“First time playing games in Vancouver, so that in itself is really special,” Sarmento says. “To get two goals was really good as well and there was some good set up from my teammates to make that happen.”
The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 6pm at Tamanawis Park in Surrey.
Goals – Canada
2′ – Matthew Guest (FG)
9′ – Iain Smythe
11′ – Matthew Sarmento (FG)
15’+ – Gordon Johnston (PC)
22′ – Gordon Johnston (PC)
22′ – Matthew Sarmento (FG)
Goals – United States
38′ – Amandeep Khokar (FG)
51′ – Paul Singh (FG)