Last night, the U.S. men’s field hockey team had to deal with one final twist in its World League Round 2 quarterfinal against Trinidad & Tobago.
The organizers exercised the option of moving the times of the quarterfinals for the benefit of the host nation. What this did was to move the USA-T&T quarterfinal from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to allow more supporters to come to Tacarigua, a town eight miles inland from Port of Spain on the island of Trinidad.
It was certainly a loud crowd, and it was even louder when the hosts took a 2-0 lead on a Dylan Francis extra-man goal with under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. With that much time remaining in the States’ hopes for a World League Semifinal berth, the Americans pressed. Michael Barminski responded with a goal from the left baseline that went into the top corner on a near-impossible angle over the head of T&T goalie Kwasi Emmanuel.
That important proximity goal gave the U.S. some momentum heading into the final 15 minutes. With time ticking down, and with the U.S. having pulled goalie Brandon Karess for an 11th outfielder, Adam Miller sent a diagonal smash into the circle from the left side of the midfield. Patrick Harris, one of the few U.S. players to play semiprofessionally in Europe, got his stick on it to put the match on level terms.
In the resulting penalty shootout, the States managed to get the early advantage through Harris, but it was tied 2-2 when Tyler Sundeen managed to fake down Emmanuel deep into the eight-second limit, providing the margin of victory with a turnaround shot.
The U.S. now goes into the semifinal round against Japan tomorrow, needing one win to make into the Hockey World League semifinals, something the Boys in Blue have never done before.