The USA men's team erupted for three second half goals to down Mexico 3-0 in the first game of the best-of-three series to decide the final men's entry in this summer's Pan American Games.
"It was a very difficult game," said USA coach Nick Conway. "But our guys remained poised and made some good second half adjustments. It was a pretty professional display in the second half."
The two teams will return to the Bermuda National Sports Center pitch on Saturday for the second game of the series with a third game - if necessary - scheduled for Sunday 11 at the Bermuda National Sports Centre.
After a scoreless first half, Binh Hoang (Westlake Village, Calif.) put the USA on top with a field goal to open the second half. The goal would be all the USA would need as goalkeeper Jason Wellings (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and a defense led by captains Shawn Nakamura (Camarillo, Calif.) and Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) kept Mexico scoreless.
The USA padded the lead and added some pressure on Mexico for the remainder of the series as Jon Ginolfi (Simi Valley, Calif.) added two goals in four-minute span to secure the win and give the give the USA a one-game advantage in the series. The team's youngest player at 18 years, 7 months, Ginolfi was named the USA's Man of the Match.
"We can enjoy the win but we have to get our feet back on the ground and get ready for another difficult test on Saturday," said Conway as the USA can clinch the series and the Pan Am berth with a victory. "Otherwise, we'll be playing a third game on Sunday."
With the win, the USA raises its all-time record against Mexico to 10-4-4. However, Mexico won the last major-tournament match between the two nations with a 2-0 victory at the 2004 Pan American Cup.
The winner of the series will join Argentina, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad & Tobago and host Brazil at the Pan American Games, July 15-25 in Rio de Janeiro. The Pan American Games serve as the continental qualifier for the Olympic Games with the winner of the competition earning the continents automatic berth in Beijing in 2008.
Source: USA Field Hockey
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