The USA women’s nation al team saw a second-half comeback effort against Australia cut short in a 3-1 loss, while Argentina climbed to the top of the standings with a 2-0 win over The Netherlands on day four of the AstroTurf March on Madrid Four Nation Tournament in Virginia Beach, USA.
With the win, Argentina rose to the top of the tournament standings with a 2-1-1 mark and a goal differential advantage over The Netherlands, also at 2-1-1. Australia and the USA are tied for third with four points each (1-2-1) with the Aussies ahead on goal differential. The games serve as a prelude for the four teams on their way to the Samsung Women's World Cup, 27 September till 8 October in Madrid, Spain.
The second round of the double round-robin tournament continues with matches Australia vs. The Netherlands and the USA vs. Argentina. The championship and consolation games are scheduled for 27 August in Virginia Beach.
Australia 3, USA 1
Australia scored two first half goals and then held on against a spirited USA team to earn its first win of the tournament and spoil the USA's homecoming on the turf at the USA Field Hockey National Training Center.
Australia's Suzie Faulkner put the USA in a hole early when she tipped in a long corner pass into the USA net just seconds into the game.
Australia continued to pressure the USA throughout the first half and were rewarded again when Hope Munroe blasted a shot from a hard angle on the right side of the circle to give Australia a 2-0 lead at halftime.
"In the first half we were very disciplined," said Australia coach Frank Murray. "In the second half we were terrible. It is definitely a learning point for a few of our players."
As Australia lost momentum in the second half, the USA picked up the pressure and pulled to within 2-1 on Melissa Leonetti's penalty corner goal in the 49th minute.
With the tide and the crowd behind the USA, the home team appeared set to tie the game in the 62nd minute put a mishandled penalty corner resulted in an Australia counter attack and Australia's game-clinching goal.
Haley Phipps knocked in the ball in a crowd in front of the USA cage for the game's final score and a 3-1 Australia win.
"You have to bring your â€˜A' game," said USA coach Lee Bodimeade on his team's slow start to the game. "There's a reason these teams are on top of the world."
Argentina 2, Netherlands 0
Top-ranked Netherlands (2-1-1) suffered its first loss of the tournament as the Dutch fell to No. 2 Argentina, 2-0 in the first game of the evening.
Gabriela Aguirre scored a first half goal and Mercedes Margalot added a penalty corner in the second half to lead Argentina (2-1-1) to the win.
"Holland was unable to break through our pressure," said Argentina coach Gabriel Minadeo. "That was open up the pitch for the Argentina side. The match was close throughout and we were able to get a good result."
The Dutch dominated possession in the first half, but were unable to take advantage of limited scoring opportunities.
Argentina however made the most of its chances as Aguirre tipped in a loose ball in the circle to give her team a 1-0 halftime lead.
Margalot secured the victory in the 66th minute when her direct hit off a penalty corner got past Dutch keeper Fleur Engels.
The Netherlands attempted only one penalty corner in the match.
"We didn't have enough power today," said Dutch coach Marc Lammers. "Our receiving wasn't going very smoothly. We're going to go full speed ahead tomorrow."
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