The USA returned to the Pan American Games podium for the first time since 1995. The Americans edged Chile 2-1 for the bronze medal, improving on their two fifth place finished in 2015 and 2011. The Chileans who have won bronze at the last three editions of the Pan American Games are forced to settle for fourth.
Deegan Huisman and Aki Kaeppeler scored for the USA, while Felipe Renz’s fourth quarter tally nearly had Chile back in it.
The United States set the tone in the first two minutes as Huisman deflected a Kei Kaeppeler shot to lift USA 1-0 on their opening rush in to Chile territory. Both teams matched each other in physicality but also in the amount of turnovers.
Chile forward Javier Osses drew the first penalty corner of the game. Nicolas Renz laid the ball off to Juan Amoroso but the low flick was booted away by keeper Jonathan Klages. The teams traded action in the middle of the pitch with the only other scoring chance coming in the 13th minute on a penalty corner that Axel Troncoso earned for Chile. This time Amoroso’s flick soared high over the goal.
In the second quarter Pat Harris’ hard work up the middle got the ball to the stick of team mate Sean Cicchi. Cicchi was fouled by a flurry of Chilean players but the ball popped loose for Alberto Montilla. Howeer, Montilla’s back-hand shot sailed high over the net. The Americans had one other first half scoring opportunity as Harris deflected a ball in to a Chilean foot in to the circle. The flick from Cicchi was low and saved by Chilean keeper Adrian Henriquez to leave the game still 1-0 in USA’s favour by half time.
In the third quarter Harris drew USA’s second corner of the game after some nifty moves at the top of the circle. Aki Kaeppeler pulled the trigger on a high drag flick that beat Henriquez and gave USA the 2-0 lead.
In the 50th minute Chile finally got on the board. A flick from Renz was blocked by the USA’s runner Kei Kaeppeler and the rebound fell to Martin Rodriguez. Rodriguez looked for space and popped the ball towards goal where a waiting Nicolas Renz was there move the ball past Klages. Chile trailed 2-1 heading in to the final nine minutes of the game.
Chile had a number of rushes and attacks towards goal to find an equalizer. They pulled Henriquez in the final minutes to add an extra field player. Seconds after Chile earned a penalty corner. Nicolas Renz’s flick was redirected off the line by USA’s Mike Barminski.
The USA did well to maintain possession through the final minute and until they could finally celebrate the team’s best finish in 24 years. The USA women also won bronze just a day earlier. The game also marked the 150th international match for midfielder and four-time PAHF Elite Team member Pat Harris.