PHOTO: Forward Floris van Son celebrates his goal in the Men’s National team’s 6-0 victory over Mexico in final pool play during the 2017 Pan American Cup.
The Men’s National team are now 3-0 in the 2017 Pan American Cup so far, after they produced a firm 6-0 win over Mexico today.
The victory ensured Canada top spot in Pool B, and the strong position of heading into Semi-Finals to face the second placed team in opposing Pool A.
Forward, Iain Smythe, playing his 150th cap with the Men’s National team today, said that the team’s success is based on being able to stick to the game plan.
“I think we kept a lot of composure and just kind of worked it around and tired them out,” Smythe said. “They were obviously kind of frustrated, but that was part of our game plan, we knew they would compact the middle and make it difficult to penetrate the defence.”
Keeping Canada to the outside, the first quarter was dominated by Canadian possession, but the team saw few chances.
Things started opening up in the 2nd quarter at the 17 minute mark, when the ball started to get rolling for Canada. Their first goal came with a cross net pass from Oliver Scholfield to Balraj Panesar who found the ball on his stick after it deflected off a Mexican defensemen. Panesar pushed in his first international goal with the Men’s National team, and game winner, to make it 1-0 for Canada.
The men headed into halftime with a 2-0 lead after captain Scott Tupper delivered a flick low and left just off the foot of the Mexican goalkeeper.
Following halftime, Mexico came out strong, earning their first penalty corners of the game, but goalkeeper David Carter was there every time with solid, big saves, ensuring his team maintained their shutout lead.
Leading the Canadian counter was Gordon Johnston, who picked up a goal with a low sweep that slipped just under Mexico’s goalkeeper’s stick, and Floris van Son who sniped a backhand across the net to the far-right post to raise the score to 4-0.
Johnston found the back of the net for the second time this game, with a sweep that hit top right shelf off the seventh penalty corner of the game.
In the 51st minute of play, Interim Head Coach Paul Bundy made a goalkeeper switch to see Iqwinder Gill make his debut in goal for the Men’s National team.
Keegan Pereira found the back of the net with a perfect cross ball from rookie Harbir Sidhu and rounded the score up to 6-0 with 5 minutes to go. Mexico countered off a Canadian penalty corner to storm down the field and earn a penalty corner of their own, forcing goalkeeper Gill to make his first save ever with the Men’s National team, off a drag flick from Mexico.
When the clock ran out, the score remained 6-0 in favour of the Men’s National team, ensuring Canada won top of their pool, to face the winner of the following USA/Chile matchup in the Semi-Finals next.
The Men’s National team were standing by to see who their foe would be in Thursday August 10th’s Semi-Final matchup. As for preference? The Men’s National team didn’t have one. “They’re both team’s that are trying to qualify for the World Cup,” Smythe elaborated, “so they’re going to come out fighting.”
The United States ended up taking second place in their pool with a 3-1 win over Chile, leaving the U.S. to be the team to beat in the Semi-Final, Thursday August 10th, at 4:15pm PT/7:15 PM ET.
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