Wroclaw, Poland (July 21, 2017) – There is no denying the disappointment that filled the air after the U.S. fell to Colombia on double-game point early this afternoon. The team was quiet, each athlete working through the loss in their own way. But the coaches would only allow that for so long. They were quick to rally the troops and remind everyone of the positive aspects of the first game, namely the huge comeback, before refocusing the team for the second game of the day.
It has only been a couple of weeks since the U.S. last saw Canada – the two teams faced off at Potlatch over the Fourth of July weekend in a showcase game and again in the tournament finals. Both games were hard fought, with the U.S. coming out on top. The same was true of today’s game in Poland. When Canada jumped ahead with two straight breaks to start the game, U.S. fans everywhere took a collective deep breath while flashing back to the team’s first game against Colombia. But the U.S. coaches quickly called a timeout, slowing Canada’s early momentum, and tweaked the offense.
Canada often runs junky defensive looks, typically for either the first few throws or the first half of the field. Those defenses were causing problems for the U.S. side stack offense. Cutters were having a hard time finding openings, and the deep space was clogged by the poaching defender(s). So the U.S. transitioned back into a horizontal stack temporarily to get things moving again. And it worked like a charm. A Dylan Freechild hammer found Sandy Jorgensen in the end zone to put the U.S. on the board, the first of three goals for her in the game.
After a couple holds each way, the U.S. got their first break back to tie the score at 3-3. Bookends for Anna Nazarov – a great layout D followed by a run-down goal on a throw from Freechild – put the game back on serve, with the U.S. in front 4-3. Solid play from both teams took us to half, still on serve at 7-6.
Opening the second half on defense, George Stubbs got a big D on a floaty huck and quickly turned it into a break for the U.S., picking up the disc, swinging to a wide-open Nick Stuart, who popped it back to Stubbs before taking off deep to catch the goal from Stubbs. Holds each way had the score at 9-7 when Jorgensen got a great D in the end zone on a huck to Catherine Hui. Claire Desmond had the unenviable task of chasing Hui around for most of the game, but after falling out of a junk look, Jorgensen got the match up on this point, and it worked out well for the U.S., with Jorgensen eventually catching the bookends goal. Jimmy Mickle floated a huck in the direction of Beau Kittredge, and while he and his defender battled for position, Jorgensen simply waited behind them and cashed in when both men missed on their attempts. 10-7 U.S.A.
Taking advantage of a miscue from Canada, Stuart caught another of his three goals, chasing down a beautiful huck from Grant Lindsley, to get a second straight break for the U.S. and give the team some breathing room at 11-7. Canada managed to get one break back, but couldn’t close the gap late in the game, and the U.S. held on to win 13-10.
In a game of familiar foes, the match ups are particularly interesting – not only the Desmond v. Hui match up, but also battles between the likes of Stubbs and Morgan Hibbert and Chris Kocher versus Brendan Wong or Georgia Bosscher against Rachel Moens. It may feel like the U.S. meets Canada a lot in international competition, but the games never get any less exciting.
Tomorrow, the U.S. will face Australia at 12:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. ET), before taking on Japan at 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. ET).
As always, be sure to follow along with the team here and on social media. In addition to updates posted here and on the USA Ultimate Twitter account and Facebook page, Claire Desmond currently has the keys to the USA Ultimate Snapchat account (usaultimate), and Jimmy Mickle is running the World Games team Twitter account (@USAUltimateWG).