|6 August 2017|
|8||Pool A||7:00pm||USA - VEN||5 - 0||Official||x 2|
|United States||13||13||KHOKHAR Amardeep||FG|
|United States||26||20||CICCHI Sean||FG|
|United States||38||6||GRASSI Alexander||FG|
|United States||44||23||KAEPPELER Aki||FG|
|United States||52||4||SUNDEEN Tyler||FG|
In their first-ever encounter the USA men put away Venezuela 5-0 with five different goal scorers. Despite the score margin without Venezuelan keeper Junior Benitez’s instincts between the pipes it could have been a much bigger defecit. USA move to third in Pool A behind Argentina and Chile.
It took nearly the entire first quarter for the two teams to get settled and while USA seemed to control possession Venezuela did well to deny space in their circle. In the 13th minute the Americans were able to capitalize when 18-year-old Amardeep Khokhar had a give-and-go setup with Sean Cicchi to lift the home team 1-0. USA had a chance to double their lead on a penalty corner but Aki Kaeppeler’s flick was saved on the line by Venezuelan defender Yordano Castro.
Venezuela did well to stymie two well-executed USA corners including a save on the line, again by Castro, and then a high flick saved well by the glove of keeper Junior Benitez. In the 20th minute a free hit play found Cicchi on the left baseline and with a composed sense of urgency he flipped the ball under the bar and into the mesh for a 2-0 USA lead.
USA captain Ajai Dhadwal set up Alexander Grassi for their team’s third goal. Grassi’s quick spin in the circle allowed him room to finish on a back-hand sweep in the 38th minute. Youngster Khokhar was an impressive spark up front for the Americans but Venezuelan defenders Dixon Abreu, Martin Lucena and Castro provided a difficult presence. Kaeppeler extended USA’s lead after a solo mission saw him eliminate three defenders and calmly lift the ball into the mesh for a 4-0 advantage. Tyler Sundeen buried a strike from the top of the circle after a quickly taken free hit to put the Americans up by five. USA will now prepare to play Chile for a spot in the semifinals.