LILLESHALL, England -- The USA Men took two more tough losses from an experienced and prepared England team as they passed through the Lilleshall National Sports Centre on their tour of the United Kingdom.
The first game of the two game series featured the USA Men against the England 'A' side, meaning about 8 of the players for England's squad were generally considered developmental players while the other half of the squad were everyday players. However, with England boasting a ranking of number four in the world, the talent of their players was evident throughout the match.
The men from England seized control of the match early and took advantage of two penalty corner opportunities in the 18th and 24th minutes, giving themselves a two-goal advantage on the Americans. England's defense gave the Americans trouble throughout and the US Men had trouble mounting their own offensive attack against the English.
Beginning the second half trailing by two goals, the men from the US kept up hope of coming back but the English would score in the third minute off of a long corner entry pass and deflection and then quickly again with a field goal in the 9th minute to keep control of the match. Though the American defense tightened and did not allow any more scoring the damage had been done and England walked away with the victory.
With a quick turnaround the US men took on England less than 24-hours later and would face the full English National Team in match two of the series. With the Commonwealth Games less than a month away, a match against the men from USA provided a good opportunity for England to test their preparedness for the games. Unfortunately for the USA Men the English side came ready to play but the Americans would not go down without a fight. The first twenty minutes of the game saw an even match with Team USA outplaying the English at periods, but the English, with a very polished game, still managed a penalty corner score as well as a field goal to take a two-goal lead. The Americans would fight back and win three penalty corner opportunities but were unable to convert on any of the three and in the latter part of the first half, England started to control the game. With another penalty corner goal in the 34th minute, England once again took a three-goal advantage into the half.
The second half would be all England as they would hang four more goals on the Americans and, with a 7-0 victory, truly show why they are ranked in the top-5 in the world. The Americans had moments of brilliance in the match and though they would not come out victorious in either match, the younger players on the squad once again gained invaluable international experience against a very talented side.
From England the men from the States have arrived in Cardiff, Wales for a three-game set against the Welsh National Team. The first game is set for Friday evening so be sure to check facebook and the USA Field Hockey website for updates.
As always, remember to root for USA FIELD HOCKEY!!!