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Oct. 28, 2011 — USA 4, Argentina 2

FULL TIME Thank you for enjoying our live coverage. Good night, good hockey.

United States (5-0) 3 – 1 — 4
Argentina (4-1) 1-1 –2
USA: Paige Selenski, fg, 15th minute
USA: Shannon Taylor (Katie O’Donnell), fg, 16th
ARG: Noel Barronuevo (Rosario Luchetti), pc, 19th
USA: O’Donnell (Rachel Dawson), pc, 35th
ARG: Barronuevo (Luchetti), pc, 42nd
USA: Michelle Vittese (Dawson), fg, 67th
Shots — USA: 7; ARG: 10; Saves — USA: Jackie Kintzer 8; ARG: Belen Succi 2; Maria Aladro 1

FULL TIME It is now Argentina that has to go into the last-chance qualification round next year — ranked No. 1 in the world, mind — with every opportunity of missing out on the Olympics. It’s not a fair system, and if Argentina fails to qualify for London, this could make FIH rethink how it designs its major tournaments, hopefully bringing it more into line with FIFA

FULL TIME The Americans now go into the Olympics, perhaps dreaming of being a medal favorite. This group of players has a lot of work to do in the next nine months if it hopes to crack the top four; and Falgowski goes back to work this Sunday as she rejoins the University of North Carolina to play against Old Dominion on Sunday in Norfolk, Va.

FULL TIME The telling goal came on a 35th minute corner, when a perfectly-worked hi-lo from Dawson to Katie O’Donnell gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead at the interval

FULL TIME Rachel Dawson was also a stalwart on both ends of the pitch, managing to thwart the Leonas’ attack and finding time to assist on the last two goals for the Stars and Stripes.

FULL TIME The U.S. captain, Lauren Crandall, showed tremendous leadership on the pitch. It’s not the first time she helped a team pip a result against a formidable opponent; nine years ago, her scholastic side, Buckingham Central Bucks East (Pa.) was given little chance against an Emmaus (Pa.) team that was the first team in the history of the National Federation to score more than 200 goals in a season. Yet, Crandall’s team prevailed 1-0 on a goal in the final two minutes of the match to win the PIAA Class AAA state title

FULL TIME And as for the players on the pitch: what a game by Michelle Vittese, who ran the center of the park like it was her own personal fiefdom. The Applebees got a Jim Craig-esque performance by GK Jackie Kintzer, late of the University of North Carolina

FULL TIME It’s a triumph for the American team, for a program which was deemed to be dead in the water after failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Full marks, first of all, to technical director Terry Walsh and head coach Lee Bodimeade for not hitting the panic buttons after losing at Chula Vista and at the Champions Challenge, and after losing a lot of veteran leadership up the middle over the last few months

FULL TIME It’s the first time the United States women have ever won a Pan American Games in six tries. It’s only the third time in history the U.S. has qualified for the Olympics when it’s not been the host country. It is also the first time the United States has ever won an FIH-sanctioned tournament with more than six participants. It is a singular achievement for this group of women and could be the most important victory since the United States Field Hockey Association was founded in 1922

FULL TIME And the Applebees have done it! The United States has upset Argentina 4-2!

69:00 Rachel Dawson takes the ball to the corner flag and the countdown is going on right now!

68:00 The United States is two minutes from qualifying automatically to London 2012

67:50 ARG PC And Kintzer comes up large again on Barronuevo!

67:00 Cesan has a 1-v-1 with Aladro that could have slain the dragon, but the ball is stopped by Aladro!

66:30 Argentina tries to answer back, but Kintzer is huge in the goal cage again!

66:00 USA GOAL Vittese gets the reward of a goal in such a big contest! Full marks to Rachel Dawson who possessed the ball up the right wing, paused, and flipped a pass to Vittese who bounces it in off Aladro! It’s 4-2 USA! Surely this is a golden goal for the Americans, who have never won the Pan American Games!

64:45 Long transfer pass by Argentina goes well wide of the intended target; a shocking ball

62:00 USA PC is busted because of a bad set; Taylor tries to rescue it but it is Argentina ball

60:00 Ten minutes to go, USA 3:2 ARG; who would have thought? Can Lee Bodimeade’s women manage the last 10 minutes of the match? This is going to be an incredible finish

58:10 Argentina fumbles the ball over the sideline; another uncharacteristic error by the current World Cup champions

57:00 Aymar takes it 30 yards over the dashed arc, and is eyed up by Vittese, who does not flinch. The Virginia product is having a scintillating game

54:30 ARG PC Barronuevo’s drag flick is stopped by Kintzer! What a stop!

52:00 Michelle Cesan tries to latch onto the pass in the circle, but cannot direct it on goal

51:30 Argentina’s Aymar has speed in the middle, but her pass is inaccurate and goes over the sideline

50:30 Argentina tries a Route 1 aerial, but Caroline Nichols is calm and resolute in the defense

50:00 Twenty minutes to go, the Americans are up a goal against the top-ranked team in the world

48:30 Selenski with a spinorama in the midfield, chops a backhander into the circle that is defensed

48:00 Garcia tries to penetrate but the U.S. defense comes through again and spirits it away to Selenski

46:50 USA YELLOW CARD Kasold is off the pitch; what can the Albicelestes do here with a player advantage?

43:30 Aymar arcs in and is blocktackled; Katie Reinprecht clears her lines

43:00 USA PC Laubach’s dragflick is wide; the Applebees unable to answer

41:12 ARG PC and GOAL Barrionuevo with another drag flick and the Americans’ lead is cut to one! What a game!

38:45 Soledad Garcia’s backhander is saved by Kintzer

38:30 O’Donnell is upended from behind in the circle; no call? If that wasn’t deliberate, what is?

36:40 Falgowski’s long through ball to Selenski goes over the end line; that could have been the game if there was a connection

35:30 Aymar is dispossessed on the right midfield, and Michelle Vittese, who is having a good game at center midfield, spirits the ball away

35:00 The second half is under way with a change in the goal cage for Argentina; Maria Aladro is in the pads this half. The Leonas’ coaching staff, in bringing in a second goalie, also has one fewer field sub than the Americans do as the gameday roster is limited to the FIH minimum of 16

HALFTIME It is a sports aphorism that a two-score lead in many sports is the most dangerous for the team in front because it is easy for the leaders to be complacent. Numerous articles have debunked the myth; will that hold in this case, or will Argentina turn it on in the second term like it has on so many occasions?

HALFTIME Worse yet, Argentina has to start the second half down a player because of that stick obstruction/green card

HALFTIME Argentina has had much the better of the play when it comes to possession, fouls suffered, and the stick skills. However, the Applebees have scored on 60 percent of the shots they have thrown on goal thus far; three goals and two Succi saves

HALFTIME At the interval, the USA is up 3-1 over Argentina, but there are still 35 minutes to go

34:30 USA PC AND GOAL Just like she did many, many times at the University of Maryland, Katie O’Donnell finishes a penalty corner cutting in from where she started; Rachel Dawson with the high-low and it is the Americans with a two-goal lead and a psychological advantage! Let’s focus you in a bit more: this is against the current FIH World Cup champions

34:09 ARG GREEN CARD Maria D’Elia is suspended for two minutes for a stick obstruction in the circle that leads to a penalty corner; the U.S. appeals for a penalty stroke, but it’s not coming

33:30 ARG PC The shot is saved, and a snowbird results for the Applebees

32:00 Argentina pressuring the USA end; if they get one here it’s a mental advantage for the Albicelestes

29:45 Argentina is called for a 5-yard free-hit violation in its attack end; an uncharacteristic mental error

28:00 On the rescue, Argentina’s Rosario Luchetti gets an open shot in the circle and Kintzer with a 10-bell save!

27:30 ARG PC fizzles with a bad set

26:45 Argentina’s Sofia Maccara with a long hopeful pass that hits the outside of the cage

25:00 USA GREEN CARD and Lauren Crandall is off for two minutes after a tackle on Aymar

24:10 Aymar with another dangerous run into the circle, but Dawson with a huge tackle!

23:00 Another uncharacteristic Argentina turnover leads to a pass from Rachel Dawson into the circle; fortunate to not have been a corner for the U.S. The Albicelestes need to tighten up if they don’t want any more goals conceded

20:15 Aymar turns the corner on Katelyn Falgowski and puts an angled shot on the USA goal; Kintzer is equal

18:05 ARG PC and GOAL Barrionievo puts in a low dragflick to Kintzer’s stick side and the lead is halved; Kintzer got a glove to it but couldn’t keep it out

15:30 USA GOAL Taylor cashes in as a turnover finds Katie O’Donnell, who smartly finds the Syracuse graduate! It’s 2-0 USA over the current world champions!

14:50 The Americans almost get another one as Michelle Kasold’s cutting diagonal finds Shannon Taylor unmarked in the circle, but her deflection is saved

14:00 USA GOAL And on the snowbird going the other way, Paige Selenski scores! She had a 3-on-2 in the striking circle, almost took herself out of the play heading towards the deep right wing, and puts it in off Succi! The Applebees are 1-nil up!

13:00 ARG PC Noel Barronuevo’s drag flick is saved by Jackie Kintzer

10:56 Rebecchi, on the other end of the pitch, blasts the ball over the top

10:00 Paige Selenski gets a turnover and slams the ball into the circle where GK Belen Succi clears; the ball was deflected by Michelle Vittese and would have counted as a goal if not for the goalie’s moonboots

9:45 Hopeful ball for Argentina skids aimlessly over the end line

8:30 Argentina, letting the ball do the work, transfers the ball with seeming impunity from one half of the pitch to the other

7:10 U.S. captain Lauren Crandall tries to get it to forward Jesse Gey in the offensive left wing corner, but is dispossessed

4:30 Argentina’s Carla Rebecchi with a backhand shot that is blocked by the U.S. over the end line

4:00 Aymar, looking like the stick is just a toy in her hands, works through for an angled shot that goes wide of the goal

3:00 The Americans have six people in the offensive right-wing corner, but Argentina manages to send it through for a counter — it’s not a good idea to give up too many of those, either

1:30 Claire Laubach is caught in possession and it’s a free hit in a dangerous position for Argentina; you don’t want to give up too many of those

0:40 Luciana Aymar tries to send it into the circle, but it’s judged to be a dangerous ball

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME The United States is wearing the navy blue uniforms with red and white trim, Argentina in their iconic powder blue and white uniforms

PREGAME At stake today is the PAHF’s lone bid to the 2012 London Olympics. The loser of this match plays in a last-chance six-nation qualifier next year in either India, Japan, or Belgium

PREGAME Interesting to note: the last time these two teams met in a game of this import, the Americans almost beat Argentina in the finals of the 2009 Pan American Cup to take the the Pan American Hockey Federation’s lone World Cup bid, losing 7-6 in penalty strokes after a 2-2 draw after extra time

PREGAME The recent pattern between these two teams is for the United States to come out early and to try to get the first tackle, first foul, first shot, first goal. But what has also happened in the last six Pan American Games finals is that Argentina has ruled the second half through possession play, making the ball do the work, and making the U.S. chase

PREGAME I believe the player to watch for the Americans is defensive midfielder/fullback Katelyn Falgowski. She will have to step up and cover, especially in transition, for the U.S. to not be taken out of the game early. Her comeback after an eight-month absence from the game due to a concussion should be an inspiration to the team

PREGAME For Argentina, the players to keep an eye on are the goalies, Belen Succi and Maria Aladro. They normally don’t do much in many contests, but how can you not get better when you have the Leonas’ high-powered offense shooting at you every day? Yet, head coach Carlos Retegui has made a calculated risk in carrying a second goalkeeper, leaving Argentina with four outfield substitutes instead of five

PREGAME Meanwhile, the Americans come into this tournament a wounded lot. The team does not have the services of central defender Carrie Lingo (knee), center midfielder Kayla Bashore-Smedley (concussion), and goalkeeper Amy Tran Swensen (knee). Head coach Lee Bodimeade does have plenty of youth in the side; half of the 24-woman player pool was a year or less out of college when selected last summer at the Women’s National Championship. But this can only reinforce the notion that the United States has major issues when it comes to retaining field hockey players in the high-performance system after graduating from college

PREGAME Argentina comes into this contest expecting to win. They have the best player in the world in Luciana Aymar, a player who has been compared with soccer’s Lionel Messi because of her touch, flair, and overall class. The team’s head coach, Carlos Retegui, likened his side to F.C. Barcelona in pretournament comments. It leads to thoughts that perhaps Argentina came into this tournament overconfident

PREGAME The United States is playing serviceable, unspectacular hockey, scoring half of Argentina’s output after four games. But the Applebees knew that their lone goal was to get to the championship final against the Albicelestes. Claire Laubach leads the effort with five goals, while Caroline Nichols and Katie O’Donnell have three each.

PREGAME Argentina has steamrolled through its four matches here in Mexico like it was a video game. If you look at the scoring table, the Leonas have poured in a ridiculous number of goals (41) and have the competition’s four top goal scorers — Soledad Garcia with 9, Noel Barronuevo with 8, and Luciana Aymar and Carla Rebecchi have six each.

PREGAME Argentina comes in as the world’s No. 1 ranked team, while the American side is ranked 13th.

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to the Pan American Hockey Stadium at the Revolution Sports Complex in Guadalajara, Mexico for the gold-medal match between the United States and Argentina


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