USMNT Down No. 10 Ireland to Wrap Up Europe Summer Training Tour
DUBLIN, Ireland - July 14, 2018 - The U.S. Men's National Team concluded their Summer Europe Training Tour with an exclamation mark after defeating FIH Hero World Ranked No. 10 Ireland 2-1 at the Pembroke Wanderers HC in Dublin. USA's win comes off of a previous 5-1 loss to the host nation, splitting the friendly two-game test series as the red, white and blue begin the journey back home.
"This was a long training tour through four countries, but the guys showed what they are made of and are living up to the expectations and goals they have set for themselves," said Rutger Wiese, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach. "Tomorrow they will be waking up early to train again as they continue to learn, improve and get better."
Game 1 U.S. Men's National Team 1 - 5 Ireland
During the first game at Rathdown School in Dublin, USA experienced the worst start they could have imagined. The Green Machine pressed forward right away and scored in the opening seconds. Ireland then followed up by pushing their forwards again and scored seconds later to take a 2-0 lead in the 1st minute. USA settled in to play their game plan, but found themselves down 4-0 before Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) scored on a penalty corner attempt, which dragged into the right corner of the goal, just before halftime to make it a 4-1 game.
The third quarter got underway with USA now getting further into rhythm, but would concede one more goal in the 44th minute in a closely contested second half.
Game 2 U.S. Men's National Team 2 - 1 Ireland
The second game was played at Pembroke Wanderers HC, and got underway on a unseasonable warmer night than usual. The Green Machine came out firing similar to their first match, moving the ball quickly around the field. This time however, USA was ready and played solid defense in the first quarters, while also creating a few chances up front, that were narrowly missed. Ireland would strike first in the 24th minute on a penalty corner that was precisely dragged into the right corner of the goal by Shane O'Donoghue. In what appeared to be an evenly matched effort the first half finished with Ireland leading 1-0.
The third quarter was another defensive battle with USA continuing to improve on their structure and starting to see different options on their outletting. USA's first scoring opportunity came in the 52nd minute when K. Kaeppeler took a quick free hit, dribbled diligently at speed to his left beating two defenders before he could get the ball into the circle where he ripped a backhand shot into the roof of the net to stun the Irish crowd, tying the game 1-1. Moments later in the 58th minute, USA earned a penalty corner that was well defended by the runner, but came loose high in the air outside the circle where Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) brought the ball down, stepped inside and slammed home the game-winning goal.
Wiese was ecstatic by the performance of the team after a long a grueling Summer training tour immediately following the Hockey Series Open. The U.S. Men's National Team will be heading home before returning to training next month in Greenwich, Conn.