Rain delays, milestone celebrations and a crowd-pleasing bronze medal for the host nation were the order of the day as world number one team Argentina successfully defended their 2013 Pan American Cup title with a 2-0 victory over Canada. In the earlier match USA beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 to take bronze.
The final was also a celebration for Peter Wright who became just the third South African umpire to reach 100 international caps, an exclusive club that includes Deon Nel and Wright’s brother John.
Gold medal match: Argentina vs Canada 2-0
Argentina’s victory marks the third Pan American Cup title for Los Leones, while this is the fourth time Canada, ranked 11th, has finished second at this event. Ignacio Ortiz and Lucas Vila scored the first half goals, while Canadian keeper David Carter minimised the damage done by the Olympic champions and kept a clean sheet in the second half.
In typical Pan American Cup final fashion Argentina’s crafty offence was quickly at work but they were matched well by a stingy Canadian defence led by keeper Carter. Ignacio Ortiz caught the Canadian defence by surprise utilizing his shifty skills along the baseline and popping in a ball over Carter for a 1 -0 lead for Los Leones.
Agustin Mazzilli ran the show for the second quarter with numerous dangerous runs into the circle forcing Carter to make a stick save on one and air dribbling a ball and shooting just over the Canadian goal. In the 25th minute Lucas Vila’s spin at the top of the circle allowed him space to quickly release a shot that fired through traffic for a 2-0 Argentina lead.
Bronze medal match: USA vs Trinidad and Tobago 3-0
Following a tough semi-final shootout loss, USA re-grouped well and beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 on the final day of the men’s competition to ultimately earn bronze and their second-ever medal at the Pan American Cup. The match was interrupted by a two-hour weather delay but this didn’t faze the home team or their supporters. The last time USA won a medal was in 2009 when they finished second to Canada, while they finished fourth in 2013 and were not in medal games in the 2000 or 2004 editions.
Tyler Sundeen opened the USA’s account after a tricky one-two passing move with Pat Harris, which left the 'keeper stranded. Sean Cicchi doubled the USA’s lead in the 22nd minute with a unstoppable reverse sweep and Will Holt scored the third goal to ensure the home fans had plenty to cheer.
Mid-way through the final quarter, tournament officials were forced to issue a stoppage due to inclement weather and the players had to endure a two-hour storm delay before returning for the final eight minutes of play.
Despite the loss the top-four finish was still important for Trinidad and Tobago’s world ranking points as they eye a spot on the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
2017 Men’s Pan American Cup Awards
Top Player: Matias Paredes (Argentina)
Top Junior Player: Tariq Marcano (Trinidad and Tobago)
Top Goalkeeper: David Carter (Canada)
Top Goal Scorers: Gonzalo Peillat (Argentina), Matias Paredes (Argentina)
2017 Men’s Pan American Cup Final Placings
Trinidad and Tobago
Visit the PAHF website for full details.