USA Men Open FINA World League Super Final Beating Hungary & Japan


USA Men Open FINA World League Super Final Beating Hungary & Japan

USA 15 Hungary 14 Shootout

Chelyabinsk, Russia - June 11 - The USA Men's Senior National Team opened play at the FINA World League Super Final with an exciting 15-14 defeat of Hungary in a shootout. Hungary opened the match leading 3-1 after the first period, but then Team USA started to chip away. They bounced back with two goals in the second period and trailed just 4-3 at halftime. In the third, the United States grabbed the lead, outscoring Hungary 4-2 and taking a 7-6 lead into the fourth period. In the final quarter, Hungary outscored the United States by a goal and the match was tied at 9-9 after regulation, which led to the shootout. 

Match report by Gergely Csurka

The first half brought was all might have expected: a neck-by-neck fight of the two newly shaped teams – both led by new head coaches –, with the Hungarians being in front with a tiny margin. In fact, Hungary led 3-1 after eight minutes and they had an extra for a 5-2 lead in the second, but their 6 on 5 was a bit sluggish this afternoon, and also,  Andy Stevens did a great job in the US goal. 

By half time it stood 4-3, and something similar was in sight… Instead the US started to roll in the third. They scored four straight goals in three and a half minutes and had an extra for going 8- 4 up. After conceding a couple of miserable goals, Viktor Nagy came up with a save and that was the sign for the Hungarians to stage a comeback. They geared up, pulled two back by the end of the third and levelled the score in the beginning of the fourth (7-7). A new match started with tremendous excitements. The US retook the lead twice but the Hungarians had the answers. In the dying minutes they even had a 6 on 4, but the US defence withstood the pressure. Both teams had one more attack to grab the win in the regular time, but the blocking hands saved the goals at both ends so another penalty shootout came.

Just as in the previous games, the first pair of five shooters didn’t make any mistake – interestingly, the Hungarians had their reserve goalie in front of the net during the shootout –, in the second round Buckner scored again, but the oldest member of the Hungarian team, Norbert Madaras missed his shot, it was denied by Stevens so the US sailed away with the win.

Dejan Udovicic – head coach of USA “I think it was a good performance for us, since this is a young team, we have eight or nine young players who can first gain some international experience here. I can be satisfied with this start, though the most important thing is to catch the time. We have been together for two weeks and we need more trainings to be really competitive with the other teams. The players didn't surprise me today, though. It is my job to convince them that they can be competitive with any other team in the world. This was a step, but there are a lot of tough periods are ahead of us.”

Match 3, 17.15, Group A: United States vs. Hungary 9-9 (3-1, 1-2, 2-4, 3-2) – penalties: 6-5 Referees: Cory Williams (NZL), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU) FINA Delegate: Alexandar Sostar

Teams USA:  Andy Stevens – Bret Bonnani 1,  Collin Smith 1,  Tommy Corcoran Janson Wigo 1,  Matt De Trane 1, Alex Obert,  Alex Bowen 2,  Shea Buckner 1,  Tim Hutten Michael Rosenthal 2,  John Mann

Hungary: Viktor Nagy – Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras 1, Bence Batori 1, Marton Vamos 1, Nortbert Hosnyanszky, Adam Decker, Marton Szivos 2, Daniel Varga, Denes Varga 3, Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai 1, Attila Decker (GK). 

Extraman: USA: 6 for 12 Hungary: 2 for 8 – double extra: 0 for 1

USA 13 - Japan 12

Chelyabinsk, Russia - June 12 - The USA Men's Senior National Team picked up their second straight victory at the FINA World League Super Final with a 13-12 defeat of Japan. Janson Wigo (Fort Lauderdale, FL/Stanford/NYAC) scored the game winner with just 46 seconds left to give Team USA the win. Wigo,  Shea Buckner (Villa Park, CA/USC/NYAC) and Michael Rosenthal (Miami, FL/USC/NYAC) all scored three goals in the victory.  Andy Stevens(Villa Park, CA/LMU/NYAC) posted nine saves in net. Team USA will meet Montenegro to close out preliminary play on Thursday. 

The match seemed to be headed in Japan's favor as they led after each of the first three quarters. Japan led 4-3 after the first, 7-6 after the second, and 10-9 after the third. The United States saved their best for last as they came through with a fourth quarter surge scoring the first two goals of the period to grab an 11-10 lead. The two teams would then alternate goals with Japan tying the match at 12-12 with 1:29 to go. That led to the game winner for Wigo and a 2-0 record thus far in Russia. 

Team USA went 6/12 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Japan was 5/7 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties. 

"We started to win that game, to play our game. It happened that I took the last shot, but that was a team effort. We are a new team, we have a new coach, we are together for the third week, we are not near our level of play," said  Janson Wigo. "But wins are wins, everyone played to give their best effort. This tournament is for building, as I said, it’s a new team, plenty of Olympians retired, a lot of guys had a fresh start, now everything is about learning."

USA 13 (3, 3, 3, 4) S. Buckner 3, J. Wigo 3, M. Rosenthal 3, J. Mann 1, A. Bowen 1, T. Corcoran 1, M. De Trane 1
JPN 12 (4, 3, 3, 2)
Saves - USA - A. Stevens 9
6x5 - USA - 6/12 - JPN - 5/7
Penalties - USA - 1/1 - JPN - 1/1 

Greg Mescall
Director of Communications
USA Water Polo

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