PHOTO: Forward Brenden Bissett carries the ball against a United States defensemen during their Pan American Cup semi-final matchup.
The Men’s National team booked their spot in the Pan American Cup Final versus Argentina with a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over the United States.
As the first whistle was blown, Canada’s Men showed up strong on their passing and receiving game plan that saw them maintain the majority of possession. In the eighth minute, Gordon Johnston lead the scoring early, with a well-executed drag flick sailing past the United States goalkeeper to the top left shelf, allowing Canada to take the early lead.
The United States answered the goal by running their own counter attack and earning their first penalty corner of the game. The U.S. then evened up the score off a penalty corner switch pass and quick sweep, which deflected high into the net, and tied the game at 1.
As time counted down towards halftime, Canada seemed to lose some of its tempo, and the United States, strategically situating their forwards and midfielders high, stretched out the Canadian defence while looking for long balls. But both the solid Canadian defence and goalkeeper David Carter, came out strong with multiple unyielding saves throughout the game to keep the team alive, and tied at 1.
The fourth quarter saw play heat up and getting increasingly scrappy, with both teams trying to find their way out of the scoring gridlock. With that, came numerous close chances for both countries, down to the wire. But, despite those various chances, the score remained locked tied 1-1 as regulation time ran out.
As fate would have it, replicating their 2013 Pan Am Cup matchup, a shootout was to determine which team would head to the Pan Am Cup Finals in the gold medal match.
The United States were up first in the shootout, and locked their first opportunity in with a goal. Gordon Johnston responded smacking in a backhand in to even it up. David Carter came out big to stuff the next two U.S. attempts, with Sukhi Panesar missing his attempt just wide of the net. Keegan Pereira and Balraj Panesar added to the scoreboard, alongside two Americans as well.
The teams were tied in the shootout 3-3 as Floris van Son coolly walked up as the last shooter. Van Son calmly delivered a back hand shot that sailed under the cross bar and into the netting, to send Canada to its fifth-straight Pan American Cup final against Argentina.
The Men’s National play their gold medal match versus Argentina on Saturday August 12th at 2:45pm PT/5:45 pm ET.
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