PHOTO: Midfielder John Smythe battles for the ball with an Argentinian player in the final match of the 2017 Pan American Cup.
Despite a strong performance from David Carter, named 2017 Pan American Cup goalkeeper of the tournament, the Men’s National team were defeated by the world’s number one team and reigning Olympic champions, Argentina, by a score of 2-0 in the finals.
Their matchup was a repeat of the 2013 Men’s Pan American Cup Final, which Argentina won 4-0, and Argentina adds this year’s Pan Am Cup title to their 2004 and 2013 championships.
Argentina came out strong in the first half, forcing Carter to make numerous high pressure saves, but it was a turnover in the fourth minute that saw Argentina make it initially onto the scoreboard, capitalizing on the opportunity with a diving deflection that got past Carter.
“It was a really tough match for us,” Carter said following the game. “We came out a bit slow, when you’re facing a team that’s as good and as classy as Argentina – world’s number one, they were just so much sharper in their skills than us in the first quarter and we got behind the 8-ball.”
The first half saw more of the same, with some fleeting chances for the Men’s National team, but mistakes on turnovers, botched penalty corners (for both teams), left it up to Carter in the back to save the team from a barrage of Argentinian shots.
In the 25th minute, Argentina managed to get one through off an incredibly quick one timer shot, with Carter having no time for a view, leaving Argentina to double their lead 2-0.
The second half kicked off with new vigour. Carter said that the team came out and “played with that Canadian grit that we’re known for, upped the physicality a little bit and never quit.”
So, Canada was back, recharged and more aggressive. Brad Logan came out early with a deep pass going just wide of the post and Keegan Pereira worked his way into the Argentinian circle. But Argentina came back to see Carter again all over the net working for Canada’s Men to remain in the game.
As Canada was showing their strength, Argentina rose to the physical challenge and play got increasingly scrappy, escalating to a yellow card moment following an Argentinian player intentionally snatching Canadian forward Floris van Son’s stick out of his hands has he was beating him on the ball.
Van Son wasn’t stopped by the drama of the game, and worked up and down the field both defensively and offensively for Canada’s men. A couple of Canadian flicks off penalty corners were denied as Canada knocked on Argentina’s door, making their solid mark in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw chances from both sides, Floris van Son seeing the majority of them for Canada, but all were deflected or denied disappointingly, by Argentinian players.
In the last two minutes of the game, Canada took the risk of pulling goalkeeper Carter for the extra attacking man. But, as the final seconds disappeared off the clock, Argentina took the 2017 Cup, and the win, 2-0.
Moving forward, Interim Head Coach Paul Bundy said the team is going to take notes from their third quarter today. “We’re going to be a little more aggressive in the way we play. We’re not going to be on the back foot…so we’ll be looking to score goals.”
Also chatting post game, Carter eluded to the ambitious future of the Canadian Men’s team. “It’s been a long time since we’ve beat Argentina,” Carter said, “it’s a rivalry that eventually we’re going to get one…”
Until then, Canada’s Men earned a well-deserved 2017 Pan American Cup silver medal and continued their record of appearing in every final of the Pan American Cup since it’s start.
Team USA earned bronze after they finished the tournament winning their last game versus Trinidad and Tobago.
For final 2017 Pan American Cup (Men) stats, match information etc. Click here
Catch Canada’s Women play in their bronze medal match tomorrow, August 13th at 1:00pm PT/4:00pm ET when they play a rematch with Team USA here.